Your first stop for help on using Concept Analyst.

Quick guide

This is a quick start guide to using Concept Analyst. For more a more detailed guide, please view the tutorial.

Models in Concept Analyst are sketched from base shapes, usually rectangles that are deformed in some way, such as adding or editing geometric points, or adding or editing entire features such as circular holes or fillets. Sketches can be rough (use the co-ordinates box in the top left of your screen as a guide) or accurate (sketch roughly then double right-click on a feature to edit its dimensions accurately). Boundary conditions are applied by selecting the tool and clicking on appropriate line. Run the analysis and view the results in seconds. The following example illustrates how to use Concept Analyst; refer to the reference guide for more help.
Start a new model if necessary and sketch a rectangle by a click-and-drag motion somewhere on the screen. Double right-click somewhere close to one of the rectangle's lines to set its size to, say, 200 units by 100. Similarly sketch a circular hole . Its size and position can be edited with a double right-click, or simply by moving the shape .

Models in Concept Analyst must generally be constrained in the x- and y-directions. Apply a displacement constraint of zero to fix a line in the x-direction. Repeat for the y-direction. Note, in this example symmetry lines (or "rollers") boundary conditions would suffice to constrain the model in its normal directions. Apply a distributed load such as a pressure pulling to the right.

Run a full analysis and view the deformed shape or the results contour plots . Perform reanalysis by, say, moving the shape , or adding a new circle with contour plots on-screen. Notice how the results quickly update. A single right click will return to the geometry screen.

Reference guide


File icons
New - create new, blank model (a new model is created upon startup)
Open - open existing model file
Save - save current model

Undo icon
Undo - undo the previous command

View icons
Zoom in - magnify a portion of the screen
Zoom out - reset the view to the default magnification

Geometry icons
Rectangle - sketch a rectangle shape
Circle - sketch a circle shape
Move shape - move an external or internal shape
Add points to shape - add geometry points to an external or internal shape (not circles)
Delete points on shape - delete geometry points from an external or internal shape (not circles)
Move points on shape - move geometry points from an external or internal shape (not circles)
Create fillet - sketch an internal or external fillet

Boundary condition icons
Distributed load - apply a distributed force or pressure to a line
Bearing force - apply a sinusoidally varying bearing force to a circle portion
Displacement constraint - apply a displacement to a line
Symmetry line - define a symmetry line (an effective zero-displacement in the normal direction)

Analysis icon
Run full analysis - analyse the completed model

Results icons
Deformed shape - display x and y displacement animation
Results contour - display displacement, stress and failure criterion contour plots
XY plot - graph displacement and stress values over a boundary portion
Internal line - graph displacement and stress values over an interior portion

Report icon
Add results to report - add current graphical display to report file

Online tutorial

WhatIntroduction to Concept Analyst

Session 1

Introduction to Concept Analyst

Concept Analyst is a Windows-based software system for the calculation of information that allows engineers to assess the durability of mechanical and structural components. It performs these calculations in a sketching environment that allows very rapid solution of the stress distributions through general, two-dimensional shapes. A reanalysis capability allows many design changes to be made while the program automatically updates the stresses that are displayed on the screen.

The program performs numerical analysis calculations that have long been available in commercial software systems. Namely, it performs linear static stress analysis. The advantage that Concept Analyst offers over these well-established packages is the simplicity and speed of usage. The decisions that have traditionally been taken by experienced analysts have, to a large extent, been automated within the software.

This tutorial provides some sample interactive sessions that may be followed by engineers new to Concept Analyst in order to gain familiarity with the most commonly used features of the system.
When Concept Analyst loads, the user is reminded of the license expiry details before being presented with a blank screen and a series of familiar-looking Windows tools such as menus containing tools and icons to the more common tools to be used.

The software is typically used in the following fashion, which is similar to the basic procedure in any finite element or boundary element system:
  • Define geometry by sketching or more precise coordinate definition
  • Define applied loads
  • Define constraints
  • Start the analysis
  • View the results
Other operations are available, such as defining the material to be used, the refinement of the model, the view states, etc.
The above scheme is, however, sufficient as a minimum and all these actions can be performed using the on-screen icons:
  • File icons: New, Open, Save
  • Undo
  • View icons: Zoom in, Zoom out
  • Geometry icons: Rectangle, Circle, Move shape, Add points to shape, Delete points on shape, Move points on shape, Create fillet
  • Boundary condition icons: Distributed load, Bearing force, Displacement constraint, Symmetry line
  • Run full analysis (also known as Go!)
  • Results icons: Deformed shape, Results contour, XY-plot, Internal line
  • Add results to report

Other actions and tools can be found in the menu. Refer to the reference guide for more help.
Most mouse operations are performed in the usual way, by positioning the cursor at some location and clicking the left mouse button. In the Concept Analyst documentation, including this User Guide, usage of the left mouse button will be assumed unless otherwise stated. Throughout this tutorial, the mouse operations will have their usual meanings, as follows:

Click: press and release the left mouse button
This is used mainly to select a tool or option.

Right-click: press and release the right mouse button
This is used mainly to cancel a view and return to the geometry screen.

Double-right-click: press and release the right mouse button rapidly twice
This is used mainly to bring up a context-dependant geometry box.

Click-and-drag: hold down the left mouse button, drag to a new location and release.
This is used mainly in sketching geometry.

Session 1

This session covers the basic operations of Concept Analyst. Load Concept Analyst or create a new document by clicking on the New icon . If prompted, save or discard changes as required.

Select the Rectangle icon . Now move the cursor around the screen, and notice how the X and Y coordinates at the top of the screen continue to show the cursor position. The default unit set is [Newtons, millimetres, N/mm2]. Without being careful about the (X,Y) coordinates of the points concerned, position the cursor where you want one corner of your rectangle to be, press the left mouse button and, keeping the button pressed, drag the mouse to the opposite corner to draw a rectangle. Note that an accidental single click may result in a small rectangle; use the Undo icon if you make such an error.

Release the mouse button when you are happy with the size and shape of the rectangle. Try to achieve a rectangle of the approximate proportions shown in the animation, but donít worry about the exact size of the rectangle. For now we are using Concept Analyst as a sketching tool, but exact dimensions can be defined using the double right-click feature.

Notice now how the bottom left hand corner of your rectangle is at the origin, i.e. its coordinates are (0,0). The origin automatically snaps to this corner of a rectangle when it is the first shape to be defined.

Now click the Circle icon .

Move the cursor to the screen location you choose for the centre of the circle. Press the left mouse button and, as for the rectangle, drag a circle shape with the button depressed, releasing the button when you are happy with the size of the circle.

Notice how the circle radius is displayed during the click and drag. Try to create a circle that is roughly central in the plate.
The geometry of the model to be analysed in this session is now complete. Of course, more features can be added, or existing features edited. To view the geometric points that define the model, edit the prefences. Select Edit - Preferences from the menu and check the Draw points option in the Draw settings box. The other options in the Preferences box will be discussed later.

Small green dots will now mark the geometry points as green dots. Select the Move shape icon and click and drag near one of the green dots on the circle to move the shape to the required position, using the X-Y coordinate box as a guide.

By default material properties are those of mild steel, and so these will be used. All that remains is to define the loads and boundary conditions.
Click on the Distributed load icon .

Move the cursor to the line on the right hand side of the rectangle, and click-and-release the left mouse button. The line segment becomes highlighted and a dialog box opens up. Apply a pressure (traction) of 100 units in the x-direction (this is the default for vertical lines) and press OK. The load is displayed on the screen. If your (default) units are Newtons, millimetres and MPa, you have applied a distributed load of 100 MPa (N/mm2).

Now click the Displacement constraint icon .

Move the cursor to the line on the left hand side of the rectangle, and click the left mouse button. The line segment becomes highlighted and a dialog box opens up. Apply a displacement of 0 units in the x-direction and press OK. Move the cursor to the line on the bottom edge of the rectangle, and click-and-release the left mouse button. Apply a displacement of 0 units in the y-direction and press OK. The constraints are displayed on the screen.
The model is now complete. Initiate the analysis using the Run full analysis icon . The analysis will take only a very short time. Click the Results contour icon .

A dialog box opens enabling the selection of the results quantity to plot. Select Maximum principal stress and press OK. Contours of maximum principal stress are displayed, with a legend indicating the meaning of each contour band. In this example the maximum stress is 316.58 N/mm2, giving a stress concentration factor of 3.1658 for the hole. Yours may be somewhat different because you have a different geometry, but the maximum value should be slightly over 300, depending on the size of the circular hole relative to the plate dimensions. Click the Results contour icon again to view other stress and displacement contour plots. The other options in this box will be discussed later.

Click on the Deformed shape icon . The plate will be shown in undeformed shape and then a short animated display of the deformation will be shown, completing with the final deformed shape being superimposed on the original shape. Notice the ovalling of the hole and the fact that the right edge of the plate deforms most in the centre, indicating the reduction in stiffness resulting from the hole.
Click on the XY plot icon . Click on one part of the circular hole and, keeping the mouse button depressed, move the cursor around the hole. Sections of the hole will become highlighted. When the entire hole is highlighted, release the mouse button. The highlighted section of boundary will become the horizontal axis of the graph plot. Select now the type of results to plot graphically on the vertical axis. Select both Maximum principal stress and Minimum principal stress, and then press OK. A graph plot is displayed (yours may be different, depending on the way you used click-and-drag to select the circular boundary to form the x-axis).

Now move the cursor over the graph itself. Notice that horizontal motion of the cursor causes the white circle to move in the top left hand corner of the window, indicating the position on the model that relates to the position of the cursor along the horizontal axis of the graph. Notice also that the white circle also follows the maximum principal stress line on the graph, and that the stress value at this location is shown in the box at the bottom of the screen. Placing the cursor over one of the peak stresses will immediately show both the location and the value of any desired stress.

This concludes the tutorial. More tutorial sessions are to follow.

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