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When complex designs, transient loadings, and nonlinear material behavior must be evaluated, computer-based techniques are used. This is where the finite-element analysis (FEA) is most applicable and provides considerable assistance in design analysis as well as failure analysis. This article provides a general view on the applicability of finite-element modeling in conducting analyses of failed components. It highlights the uses of finite-element modeling in the area of failure analysis and design, with emphasis on structural analysis. The discussion covers the general development and both general- and special-purpose applications of FEA. The special-purpose applications of FEA covered are piping and pressure vessel analysis, impact analysis, and microelectronic and microelectromechanical systems analysis. The article provides case histories that involved the use of FEA in failure analysis.

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