Non-Linear structural analysis is far more powerful and flexible than linear structural analysis.
Non-linear structural analysis can handle such
conditions as high stresses which cause the material under study to yield,
deformation and residual stresses, as well as dynamically evolving stresses that change
over time. Non-linear analysis allows the simulation of events such as bending,
impact, shock, and cyclical strain. Nonlinear analysis also allows the simulation
of plastic and rubber parts, that change dramatically under loading. Non-linear
analysis can be used to determine not only how well a part or mechanism will function, but
can also predict how a overloaded system will fail, and can produce a animation showing
the failure occurring. Such a simulation can find and highlight potential problems
in a design early in the process, when changes can be made quickly and easily, rather than
when prototypes are in testing or the product is on the market. These simulations
can also be used to dramatically reduce the amount of testing that needs to be done by
performing the virtual simulations to optimize the design, and then using a single test to
validate the predictions.