Does Finite Element Analysis (FEA) need improvement or it is rock solid?
When a young mechanical engineer starts his learning he is quickly taught that the mechanical world is divided into two binary halves. One half is rigid structures where the component parts do not move relative to other parts and that all reactions are local. FEA rules this world. The second half is the world of machines where parts do move in relationship to other parts. Dynamics, kinematics and tribology rule this world but FEA is not far away when it comes to analyzing each individual component of the machine as that component can be seen as a rigid structure in most cases (except for springs and hydraulic devices).
One Ring to Rule Them All
So is FEA the one ring rule to rule them all? Are there structures that do not fit in the neat categories above? If yes, are they worth studying to see if they can be analyzed by FEA, or does FEA need improvement to analyze them?