18 Jan Can You Handle Design Validation?
SOLIDWORKS is most widely known as CAD tool and for its ease of use for designing. Its popularity is also due to its customization and user interface which is one of the best in
CAD software’s. Even though, many designers are using the SOLIDWORKS for their
design process, not many people are aware that SOLIDWORKS has the capability for
performing various kind of simulation like static, linear, dynamic and also nonlinear.
Other than simulation, it has capabilities to perform robust flow analysis and electronic
cooling analysis along with HVAC.
Being a CAD tool and also having capabilities of performing simulation has its very own advantages. The compatibility of importing the models into simulation environment
without any loss of details. Complex models designed in SOLIDWORKS using sheet metal
or surface can be imported for simulation without any data loss. The simplicity of using
SOLIDWORKS simulation makes a designer concentrate on his simulation process rather
than searching for the tools.
Basically there are only 5 simply steps to perform a simulation in SOLIDWORKS
- Applying a material.
- Providing Fixtures (constraints)
- Applying loads (torque, force, pressure etc.)
- Run the study.
Applying Material: SOLIDWORKS has a huge library of different kind of materials such as metals, plastics, silicon, rubber and also wood. In each category we have huge number of materials. We can customize (Create) our own materials with all the required
parameters such as density, tensile strength, stress- strain curve etc. required for
simulation. Required material S-N Curve date can be imported to perform fatigue study
Providing Fixtures: To simulate the actual working of a component, fixtures are necessary, which constrain the body accordingly. From simple fixtures which constrain a
body such as fixed hinge to advanced fixtures which use reference geometry such as
faces, edges or vertices which can limit translation motion or rotation motion along a
Applying Loads: From applying simple loads such as force or pressure to importing loads from flow and thermal is available in SOLIDWORKS simulation.
Thermal or flow analysis can be performed and those results can be used in static analysis to find out the stresses created due to flow pressure and temperature
Meshing: In SOLIDWORKS simulation, we have triangle and tetra elements for solid model and shell elements for surface model. We can have complete control on the mesh density, aspect ratio of the elements and number of Jacobian points in each element for better accuracy of the solution.
H and P adaptive meshing is available wherein the program uses more efficient
elements or increase the order of elements respectively in region of high errors and reruns the study. This improves the accuracy of the study without much effort needed to create the mesh.
Run the study: The final phase is just to run the study. The report can be generated in which entire inputs given are captured such as fixtures, loads, mesh density, number of elements etc, along with the images.
Finally, we conclude that having Simulation capabilities along with CAD package gives us insight into product behaviour during early stages of design. The associativity between
CAD and simulation is one of advantages wherein changes in CAD models are instantaneously updated in simulation which drastically reduces time. Over design and failure of the product can be avoided during the initial design stage itself which saves us valuable time, cost and effort.