SOLIDWORKS 2018 What’s New – Simulation Topology Study – #SW2018


SOLIDWORKS 2018 What’s New – Simulation Topology Study – #SW2018

One of the new features in SOLIDWORKS Simulation 2018 is Topology Study.  Topology is essentially the space and shape that an object occupies.  When we are designing new products, if individual components are too large and occupy too much space it can limit our creativity.  Also, the larger the component becomes the more we are cost-penalized due to added material needs.  In SOLIDWORKS Simulation 2018, the Topology Study allows you to investigate alternative, smaller shapes for your product that meet your design requirements.  You will find Topology Study under the revised Simulation Study Property Manager under the Design Insight section.

To utilize this new SOLIDWORKS Simulation study type, you should start with a component that occupies the maximum possible design space.  Setting up a Topology Study is initially quite similar to setting up a Linear Static study – both require fixtures, loads, material definition, and a finite element mesh.  A Topology Optimization study requires a few more setup steps before it can be solved.  The next setup step for a Topology Study is to identify Goals and Constraints for the analysis.  In the picture, the goal is to generate a shape (topology) that provides the best possible stiffness to weight ratio, attempting to remove 50% of the material from the initial shape.

There are also options to add Manufacturing Controls to the constraints of the Topology Study.  For instance, you can specify a Preserved Region where material should not be removed or a Thickness Control for the minimum allowable thickness of the design.  This region is excluded from the Optimization process and will remain in the final shape optimized design.

After the Goals and Constraints and any additional Manufacturing Controls are included in the Topology Study, it must be solved just like all other Simulation study types.

A Topology Study solves quite similar to a design study.  Multiple iterations of the Finite Element Model are calculated with each iteration removing material from the body/mesh to determine if it still meets the Engineering and Design constraints.

When the solution is complete, one of the several results plots you can create is a Material Mass plot.  This provides a visual representation of how much material can be removed from the original, maximum design space body, and still meet all the design requirements.  The new SOLIDWORKS Simulation 2018 Topology Study is available in SOLIDWORKS Simulation Professional and SOLIDWORKS Simulation Premium.  Be sure to take a look at the new SOLIDWORKS Simulation 2018 Topology Study and see how it can help you.  Now go make your designs better with SOLIDWORKS Simulation!

I hope this part of the What’s New series gives you a better understanding of the new features and functions of SOLIDWORKS 2018.  Please check back to the CATI Blog as the CATI Application Engineers will continue to break down many of the new items in SOLIDWORKS 2018.  All of these articles will be stored in the category of “SOLIDWORKS What’s New.”  You can also learn more about SOLIDWORKS 2018 by clicking on the image below to register for one of CATI’s Design Innovation Summits.

Bill Reuss

Product Specialist, Simulation