I am writing a finite element code for my final year project of BS Mechanical Engineering. The geometry is an integration of several parts composed of different materials. I don't have exact values of material properties. However, I do have ranges of them. For example, for Steel1020, Young's modulus varies from 205-215 GPa. Should I use lower limit of Young's modulus or higher limit of Young's modulus?

  • $\begingroup$ The value to use would depend on the purpose. For example, if using the analysis to determine the size of a piece for a given load, I would use the lower limit. Most of the times I would use the mean (arithmetic, geometric). $\endgroup$
    – nicoguaro
    Commented Aug 28, 2019 at 13:43

1 Answer 1


I would suggest you choose an experimental design approach and use a half-fraction factorial design to cover the min-max intervals for each of your materials. You will get a set of solutions that you can then examine to determine the best and worst case situations.

In general, for geometries that are complex enough, it is not feasible to determine the optimal choice of material properties for a given functionality by inspection.


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