(c) 1997 - 2011 CADFEM Limited All rights reserved FEA is a computer based technique for predicting the in-service behavior of components. In the last 20 years or so, FEA has become the standard method used in Engineering to predict component/assembly behavior prior to manufacture thus, potentially, reducing costs. With FEA you can predict (amongst other things) the stresses and deflections in a component prior to actually making it. The Finite Element process (assuming a CAD based approach) 1.Create or obtain 3D geometry   2.Create the FE model, then add loads and restraints 3. Calculate desired data (Stresses, deflections, etc). 4. View and report the results Of course it's not always as simple as shown above. In the 'real World' various issues arise which cause make the above a challenge.