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Modal analysis, or more specifically, natural frequency analysis is used to provide information on the stiffness or mechanical resonance of an assembly structure. It is used by designers and engineers who require vibrational analysis within Onshape and is commonly used in industrial equipment, automotive, and aerospace industries, among others. Modal analysis is often required for subsequent dynamic analysis; for example, modal frequency response and modal transient analysis are used in safety calculations.

In general, Modal analysis is a broad area of study. More specifically, Onshape Modal simulation focuses on what is referred to as normal modes, eigenvalue analysis, or natural frequency analysis. It is a technique in structural dynamics used to characterize how a structure tends to dynamically deform and vibrate, without needing to model the external forces that would be applied to the structure. The natural frequencies of a structure are dependent only on the structure's shape (geometry), part-to-part connections (boundary conditions), and material composition, such as mass and stiffness.

For engineers and designers, understanding the vibrational characteristics of an assembly is critical because being exposed to vibration (cyclic loading) may result in structural damage such as cracks, resonance, or even catastrophic failure. Natural frequency analysis is often the first step in further vibration or fatigue analysis. Many companies also test their products' response to vibrational excitations with shaker tables, impact hammers, and other physical test setups.