As we mentioned in Part I, the history of Finite Element Analysis is deeply intertwined with the evolution of computing. It seems only fitting that the FEA software used to design the world's most cutting-edge products should have the most cutting-edge computational techniques at its disposal. From the early punch days of the 60's through the 2000's, FEA companies have found unique ways to take advantage of the ever-changing computer landscape.
The first patent for computer software was filed in 1968 by Applied Data Research for a number sorting system. That same year, MSC Software, in partnership with NASA, released the first version of their now famous "NASA Structural Analysis" software (NASTRAN).
Have you ever experienced your car breaking down due to part failure, with little or no warning? This could be because the part was designed without taking into account how it would be affected by material behavior or manufacturing variability.
In 1969, Grumman Aerospace was the first company to successfully introduce advanced composites into a commercial airplane. The boron-epoxy laminated horizontal stabilizer used in the F-14A was 15% lighter and 18% less costly than its metal counterpart.