ANSYS is a commercially available finite element program. Dr.
Ohanehi created finite element models of the Daedalus Project shelter.
These models were loaded under simulated loading conditions to determine
the panel deflection. One of the output formats available in ANSYS
is a data file containing the cartesian coordinates of the displaced element
nodes. Another file identifies the nodes that make up each of the
elements in the model. This data was combined into one VRML file
that is viewable on a web navigator equipped with the proper plug-in (Cosmo
Player). The following PV-WAVE program was used to convert the data
files to VRML:
Formating the Data Files
In order to the PV WAVE program to read the ANSYS data files they first
needed to be formatted. All lines of text and blank lines were removed.
The conversion program reads in a set of node coordinates and assigns a
sequential node number to the set. The ANSYS data files did not assign
sequential numbers to all the nodes in the range. This was a crucial
point because if there is a break in the numbering of nodes, the conversion
program does not account for it. For this reason, false data was
inserted into the ANSYS data file so that the node numbers created by the
conversion program corresponded to the ANSYS node numbers. Once the
files were formatted, the conversion program was run and an output file
was generated. This file was then viewed with the IV View program
on the SGI workstation.
Figure 3: Converted ANSYS File - View 1
Figure 4: Converted ANSYS File - View 2
Figure 5: Converted ANSYS File - Nodes
I have not found a way to read the polygonal data correctly. The computer model conversion did not turn out as I had hoped. Some work still needs to be done to correct the polygonal data. This conversion tool could be very valuable to researchers doing work with finite element analysis. The graphs and images generated by current FEA programs provide extremely valuable information, but the information could be more useful if it can be viewed in a three dimensional environment. To make the conversion program run correctly, the method by which the polygonal data is read in will have to be examined further. The program is not reading the correct node numbers from the ANSYS file, and as a result the nodes are not being connected properly. Ideally, once the node numbers are assigned correctly, users will be able to run the VRML in the CAVE to visualize the shelter in full scale.