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Structural Modeling

OpenVSP allows a user to model aerospace structures for a geometry and generate a finite element mesh model. This model can then be exported to an FEA post-processing tool for further analysis. To begin, a geometry must first be created or loaded. The FEA mesh screen is then accessed by clicking “FEA Mesh…” in the Analysis pull down menu.

VSP Terminology


A structure is defined as a collection of FEA Parts associated with a single geometry.A geometry is able to have multiple structures

FEA Part

An FEA part is any structural entity that is used to define a structure. This includes full-depth, zero-depth, and key-point types of entities.

FEA Element

A group of interconnected FEA nodes create an FEA element. All elements are assigned a single element property.

FEA Node

An FEA node is a 3D coordinate point used to build FEA elements. FEA nodes may be assigned to multiple elements. Key-points are FEA nodes that have been defined at a specific location.


Shells are full-depth FEA parts comprised of triangular FEA elements. In NASTRAN these elements are CTRIA6. In Abaqus and Calculix they are S6 elements.


A cap is a zero-depth FEA part made up of beam FEA elements. The beam elements are represented in NASTRAN as CBAR. In Abaqus and Calculix they are B32 elements.

FEA Mesh Screen

feamesh.1504824882.txt.gz · Last modified: 2018/04/01 14:40 (external edit)