Keep up to date with our news, tips & tricks, and latest information!

Shell Element.jpg

This past week I had the opportunity to be reminded of a fundamental FEA principal relating to shell elements.

It is important to remember that in most FEA software, the z-axis in the shell element coordinate system is always NORMAL to the shell surface. This is by definition of a shell element.

So I attempted to rotate the element z-axis along the tube axis of my composite part to "calibrate" the model and I wasn't getting what I was expecting.

So after researching this topic for a while I finally realized the issue, created a 3D FE model (using hexahedrons), and reran the study and got what I was expecting.

In summary, if you ever want to orient your elements so that the z-axis is anything BUT normal to the shell surface you will likely not get the results you were expecting... instead use a 3D element (tet, hex, etc.).

To view the full list of images click here:


Welcome to our site! We are in the process of building our blog page and will have many interesting articles to share in the coming months. Please stay tuned to this page for information to come. And if you have any questions about our business or want to reach out to us, we would love for you to stop by our contact page.

Thank you