Improved Shell Bonding in Simulation 2016

I like things that help me to be more efficient in the work that I do.  The time saved allows me to move on to other tasks and generally accomplish more with my busy schedule.  One of the improvements in SOLIDWORKS Simulation 2016 is going to save time.  A lot of time!  (If I could find a way to insert a Jeff Sweeney ‘giddy’ laugh and smirk here, I would absolutely do it!)


The improvement is to bonded contact conditions with shell elements.  Specifically, there is an added option for the Global Bonded Contact that will recognize gaps between shell mesh edges and faces.  This new option in SOLIDWORKS Simulation 2016 will eliminate most of the manual process of adding bonded contact sets for shell edges and faces.


You might be asking yourself why the CAD model has gaps or why isn’t everything modeled as face-to-face coincident.  In weldments and sheet metal, many people intentionally model gaps between the components for welding.  In the past, I have always recommended to create a configuration where the weld gaps are closed before the user began their Finite Element Analysis on that structure.  In most cases, the time it would take to create that new configuration would be significantly less than how much time it would take to manually add dozens of local bonded contact conditions.


Let’s first take a look at what we previously had with this type of setup.  In SOLIDWORKS Simulation 2015, the Global Bonded Contact dialog has an option for closing gaps on non-touching faces.

2015 0930 Gap Bonding Setup 2015


It works well, but is for solid meshed finite element models only.  While I could convert all of the bodies from shell mesh to solid mesh, that will most likely increase the time it takes to both mesh and solve the finite element model.  Utilizing shell meshed bodies in the analysis can speed up mesh and solution time, but in 2015 and prior I have to manually add local contact conditions for the shell edges.  This manual process is time consuming and has the potential for mistakes to be made.


2015 0930 Shell Manual Contacts 2015


This is where the SOLIDWORKS Simulation 2016 shell edge bonding improvement should make you smile.  With a few button clicks, the intentional gaps in your shell mesh analysis will be automatically closed.  You must enable the ‘Non-touching faces’ option, then enable the ‘Include shell edge’ option and finally specify a gap distance.


2015 0930 Shell Edge Gap Bonding 2016


This alleviates the need to create a CAD configuration for FEA or the need to manually add a lot of edge contacts for your finite element model.  The time I save can be put to good use on other projects, like learning more about SOLIDWORKS Simulation 2016 and the other new features and improvements!  Be sure to take a look at what is new for the upcoming version of SOLIDWORKS products.  Now go make your products better with SOLIDWORKS Simulation!


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