How do I validate FEA results?

First of all, check the numerical consistency of the results:

- Ensure convergence of solution: refine mesh and check if changes in the answer are smaller and smaller.
- As an error estimation look at strain jumps between adjacent elements with results not averaged or smoothed.

Then, compare to other theoretical/numerical results if available. Compare to empirical results if available. For hand-made engineering calculations I recommend MathCAD (or Smath Studio) instead of Excel because the formulas are readeable and with named variables.

Last but not least, compare with systems of increased complexity. For example, if you are analyzing 3D dynamic system with nonlinear material, start with 2D linear static and build confidence in your solutions by adding complexity step by step.