Integrating test and analysis enables synergistic processes from which the entire engineering team can benefit. Some examples:
FEA results can be used to optimize the experimental setup (pretest analysis)
Mixed numerical-analytical methods are used to quickly and reliably identify otherwise only approximately known structural properties (e.g. joint stiffness), material properties, and loading (non-destructive, indirect, testing).
Test results are used as reference data to validate and refine a finite element model (error localization, correlation analysis, model updating). Unknown or badly known physical properties can be identified and uncertainties in finite element models better assessed.
Hybrid models that contain partially FE models and partially test models can be developed to build more complete models that include all essential components while maintaining a good balance between model size and performance.
By better exploiting the combined test and analysis data, engineering staff and management will gain more confidence in the simulations they increasingly need to rely on for design optimization, acoustics, fatigue analysis and so on. They will also gain expertise for future modeling, build up reusable knowledge and more rapidly acquire essential skills like engineering judgment.