CAD Vs CAE: What Are The Differences

Before CAD was introduced, engineers had to make their drawings and calculations by hand. Engineers drew three different views on a piece of paper, and they had to simplify their product to make calculations on the product behaviour in presence of external forces. With the arrival of CAD software, now engineers can create accurate 3D models.

On a way to become a qualified mechanical engineer, the first thing students learn is how to solve mechanical problems. In this example, the mechanical problem is the need to find out how wind affects the Olympic Tower in Munich.

  • The Olympic Tower is not a 2D line drawn on a paper, but a complex 3D geometry

  • The wind is not a single and constant force, but a dynamic force which causes turbulence and other effects

To calculate this, you need the power of CAE.

Difference between CAD and CAE:

CAD is an abbreviation for computer-aided design and refers to using a computer to see a product idea. CAE is an abbreviation for computer-aided engineering, which is an analysis of the designed visualization. The gist is that CAD designs a product and CAE simulates it.

The benefits of using computers and design in comparison to old-school methods are quite clear. The main advantages of 3D CAD software over 2D drawing include the following and much more:

  • 3D version of the object is created. One can more easily understand the shape and the properties of the designed geometry. Moreover, some geometry could be extremely complicated and difficult, if not impossible to well understand without seeing them in 3D.

  • Changes to the geometry are easy because the software recalculates the product after every change. The CAD program also identifies and alerts about any errors.

  • The most important benefit is that a CAD model can be transformed into a mesh and next simulated for analyzing and testing purposes.

CAE tools have several advantages, like:

  • Not requiring as many prototypes and driving down the overall development costs of the project.

  • CAE lowers the potential for errors in design.

  • The effect of altering a few parameters on the product can be studied.

All of this in CAE helping to lower the costs and time to market a product.

Difference between CAD and CAE: The Meshing Process

So we need to take a look at the difference between CAD and CAE. At first glance, the models used by CAD and CAE software look almost the same. However, a closer look reveals that they are basically different. From a mathematical standpoint, they do not have a lot in common.

There are various ways to combine geometrical elements to form a 3D geometry. The CAD models are designed as an assembly of volumes with parameters as the density of the actual material. The model used for CAD modeling is a parametric model with a construction history. This offers an advantage of being able to change features.

In a CAE atmosphere, the CAD model is transformed into a mesh while pre-processing. The mesh consists of either cubes, cuboids or tetrahedrons, so basically polygon meshes.

Calculation and Post-Processing

This shows why you cannot transform a CAD model into a CAE model. The modeling of spheres, for instance, could be a problem.

After the pre-processing is over, the calculation begins. This differs according to the problem you are to solve and the type of simulation needed.

After this step, post-processing is carried out to visualize the solution of an analysis.

How to Use Simulation Software

After discussing the advantages and the difference between CAD and CAE, the next question is: how cans a CAD user start using simulation?

There are various possibilities, which include step-by-step tutorials, webinars, video tutorials, and workshops. Moreover, professional training, documentation, blogs, articles and help forums could help you.

With this, we conclude. To know more, keep visiting our space.

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