I have recently been told to use virtual parts instead of creating geometry to ground the part. Does anyone else use virtual parts to ground their model?
CATIA FEA Virtual Parts
Yes. Virtual parts allow you to simulate the behaviour of additional geometry without actually creating it - or more to the point, meshing it. A single virtual part (often called 'Rigid Beam Element' or RBE in other FEA software - they all have them) can take the place of several nodes and elements, reducing solve time.
Obviously you need to be careful with how you use them, and which type you use (rigid or smooth) but they are an essential part of the FEA user's toolkit.