FEA outputs should always be viewed with healthy suspicion – it’s part of the validation process. But FEA users are often in their early career while the experience to know whether FEA outputs are plausible grows throughout a career. How can that knowledge gap be bridged?
FEA should be viewed as a team activity, not a lonely pastime. Input decisions and output reviews should be discussed with the project team every step of the way, involving those with wider geotechnical experience but perhaps little knowledge of FEA. Everybody gains knowledge that way.
Validation is not simply a process of comparing outputs with measurements until they match, it should ensure that the governing aspects of ground behaviour in a project have been captured faithfully.
The importance of this will be demonstrated using the speaker’s experience of modelling geogrid applications. While fudging input parameters could sometimes get the right output, radical changes to the modelling approach and a team effort were needed to simulate the true mechanical behaviour of stabilising geogrids accurately.
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