Sometimes there are geometric situations that can be visualized in a 2D sense even though the real objects in question are of course 3D. Similarly, many times FEA problems can be solved with a 2D model to achieve the same basic results as a more complex 3D representation. The 2D model is easier to construct, and generally takes only 10% of the time to solve as a 3D model. Autodesk Algor can utilize 2D mesh elements to help simplify problems down to their most basic elements so that we can obtain results much faster.
Here is an example of a fluid flow study (CFD) that has been conducted in Algor to determine the flow characteristics through a porous media. This type of problem would be much more complex to solve as a 3D model, and the 2D representation still works great to see what is happening with the fluid flow.