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FEA with Autodesk Nastran In- CAD

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Finite Element Analyses( FEA) are analytical & mathematical processes which describes the physical phenomena encountered in engineering mechanics such as structural or fluid behavior, thermal transport, wave propagation, etc. It is a numerical method used for the prediction of how a part or assembly behaves under given conditions and loads.  FEA is utilized to model prediction to eliminate the need for physical testing, saving time & costs.

To run a finite element analysis, usually there will be a pre & post processing software which provides relevant input data to be processed and also to provide graphical outputs of results after analysis. There is also a solver component which does the numerical analysis.

Each process section, from the input, analysis and output, plays a vital role in providing accurate and reliable results, just as the saying goes ” Shit in, Shit out,” .There are several different solvers and pre+post processing softwares which runs FEA Analysis.

Nastran is one of the most powerful solvers for FEA and was originally developed by NASA . It is one of the engineering industries’ most trusted solver technologies available on today’s market. Nastran is capable of linear and nonlinear analysis and includes an extensive list of materials including plastics, composites and metals. It’s predictive results are reliable and has a solid reputation in the engineering analysis industry.


Autodesk Inventor is a professional grade 3D CAD software with very capable, easy to use and multi optioned tools to build, simulate, document and visualize  3D mechanical designs. Thanks to the latest aquisition , Autodesk Inventor can now act as the  pre & post processing section of the FEA analysis, which is fantastic news for FEA fanatics. NASTRAN now exists as a plug-in for Inventor (“NASTRAN In-CAD”), accessible via the Environments tab. This makes the Inventor-Nastran package a very formidable FEA option in comparison to others. Why ? You ask ?

There aren’t many packages which provides the best of both worlds;- straightforward  building of a 3D model and a powerful processor which has a broad capability of analyses. Some FEA analysis software does not have smooth capabilities of building models of complicated shapes. It is also common to hear of engineers, building models from a 3D CAD software and exporting the model into a FEA software, however, there are sometimes integration issues between software which may lead to less accurate analysis results.

With the new In-CAD Nastran, there is a fully integrated simulation product that integrates with Inventor for seamless transfer of CAD models into a CAE environment. This allows simulation in the comfort of the Inventor environment and making retesting, changing and reiteration of parameters  as well as on design optimisations easy and efficient.


So how is this package different from other FEA software offerings?  Read on to learn a little more about the tools and capabilities;

– Wide variety of study types, including non-linear, transient and thermal,
– Wide variety of materials, including metals, plastics, ceramics, etc. with linear, non-linear, fatigue, anisotropic and laminate properties considered.
– Accurate for a wide array of load cases, including extreme loading,
– Capable of complex boundary conditions (mechanical, thermal, transitional).



Autodesk’s Product Design and Manufacturing Collection now ships with Nastran In-CAD. To know more call 1300 672 888 or email


Tai Nguyen

Tai Nguyen

Managing Director at Advanced Spatial Technologies

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