Explicit FEA

Explicit Finite Element Analysis (FEA) is a numerical method for simulating highly dynamic and non-linear systems. Typical characteristics of an explicit FEA simulation model include:

  • Highly non-linear material properties including explosives
  • High velocity impact
  • Large deformation
  • Coupling between gaseous, fluid and structural materials
  • Thermal-structural coupling
  • Complex contact behaviour

 Crash Test      Drop Test 


Explicit FEA codes are specially tailored to provide efficient and accurate solutions to these types of simulations. It is the industry standard solution for many problems faced by engineers in the automotive, aerospace, manufacturing and military fields. Implicit finite element methods can fail to provide a solution due to numerical convergence difficulties in scenarios with highly non-linear characteristics. In these situations an explicit solver will continue generating a solution using a method that calculates stress wave propagation, this makes it ideal for highly transient problems. By solving problems in very small time and deformation increments, extremely complex behaviour can be captured without computational bottlenecks due to multiple solution iterations.


What sort of scenarios are suited to explicit finite element analysis?

Vehicle crash

Vehicle crash simulations are conducted by automotive manufacturers to determine the energy absorption characteristics of the structure, the risk of failure of components and the safety of occupants. Historically this has been the development ground for explicit FEA with many of the capabilities and features of the explicit FEA products provided by LEAP finding their origins in the automotive industry. There are now a large and mature set of tools for modelling jointed systems, crash test dummys, barriers, seat belts and metal, foam, fabric and polymer materials commonly found in vehicles.

Drop Test

Manufacturers frequently need to determine how their product will behave when falling onto a hard surface. The complex nature of the contact between the product components and the surface, and the yield and failure response of the materials mean that the problem is ideally suited to explicit analysis.


Detonation and blast simulations require non-linear pressure-volume models for capturing shock wave propagation, material models for capturing the energy release of exploding products, failure and fragmentation material characteristics, coupling between structural and gas/fluid bodies, and contact algorithms capable of detecting rapid changes in contact status. The explicit FEA products provided by LEAP are the industry standard tools used for blast simulation by Australian defence, university research, mining and manufacturing organisations.

Metal Forming & Cutting

Manufacturing industries conduct simulations of manufacturing processes in order to predict the quality of the manufactured components and make changes to the tooling before any physical tools or components are made. This allows for a reduction in the number of tools and components produced before the manufacturing process is finalised and significant cost reductions. Explicit FEA is used for simulating sheet metal stamp forming, metal cutting, bulk metal forging, extrusion, welding and casting. It is particularly suited to these applications because of its ability to handle complex contact conditions such as those occurring during wrinklie formation in stamp forming, very high material strains and coupling of thermal and structural physics. The explicit FEA tools provided by LEAP also have smooth particle hydrodynamics (SPH) capability which is useful for chip formation prediction in metal cutting.

Associated Products

ANSYS Explicit STR


What can LEAP provide if you think that explicit FEA could be a useful tool for you?

LEAP Australia has many years of experience in providing explicit FEA solutions. We provide consulting, training and mentoring services in addition to the sales and support of explicit FEA software. Please contact us for training course information, software and consulting prices or for a discussion on your simulation requirements.



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