Finite element analysis, or FEA, arose from engineers’ need to understand how different structures and materials would respond in certain conditions. Cities needed to understand how a bridge would hold up in high winds without having to build it to find out, for example. When thinking about the oil and gas industry, FEA is helpful at many points along the process, including when assessing the integrity of fuel storage tanks under pressure. The oil and gas acquisition and refinement process has many more points along the process that require FEA. To learn about the importance of FEA in oil and gas applications, read our brief guide.
What Is FEA?
Specifically, finite element analysis utilizes advanced computer modeling to simulate how forces affect structures and how fluids, whether in liquid or gaseous form, behave in a given system. Engineers build simulations using existing blueprints for structures, perhaps a pipeline or storage tank, and account for the many dynamic forces that could act upon them. The challenge is determining how multiple forces interact, which a computer can model well if given the differential equations for these forces. It combines these forces into a cohesive simulation that determines the coefficient for the respective equations—essentially, to determine the true role each force plays when a structure is in use. Upon properly simulating the system, engineers can confidently go forward with actually creating and installing.
How FEA Affects the Oil and Gas Industry
The importance of FEA in the oil and gas industry becomes clear given a few relevant facets of operation it affects.
It Models Extreme Conditions
Oil and gas industry production deals with extreme temperatures and pressures that may be hard to fathom through other, less precise projection methods. FEA comes in handy when accounting for somewhat unprecedented conditions. Also, because of these occasionally high heat and pressure loads, oil and gas systems are at a high risk of failing if engineers don’t properly account for everything. FEA addresses this worry by affording a complete picture of a system.
Limits the Need for Prototyping
Your engineers won’t have to construct prototypes to manually test out various conditions. This speeds up your operation, decreases costs spent creating and testing a prototype, and provides you with a clear direction before you manufacture anything.
If you’re interested in finite element analysis to simulate how your gas path equipment will function, contact SVI Dynamics. We have decades of experience in gas path solutions as well as silencer noise pollution mitigation and SCR equipment and processes.