SOLIDWORKS Simulation: Making Contact Interactions

Which contact interaction should I choose?

SOLIDWORKS Simulation is fun and easy to use. But there are times when you may find that it can get confusing on what path to take when setting up the pre-processing stage of an analysis. One area that tends to stand out with SOLIDWORKS Simulation users is when you are setting up contact interactions with either multibody part files or assemblies for linear or non-linear static analysis. Contact interactions can get confusing on what to use and then just how to think it through. Well, hopefully, after reading this blog, you will find it a little easier in choosing the correct path of what contact interaction to utilize for your simulation analysis.

SOLIDWORKS contact interaction thought process

Where do we start? Well, it’s not as difficult as it may seem. If you look at Figure 1 below, you will find a screen shot of a whole thought process at the end of this blog on how to start properly setting up contact interactions for three scenarios which are for part, multibody part, and assemblies. It then continues to ask if you checked for interferences in your models which can stop you from even meshing the model.

Contact sets flow and checking for interferences

Fig. 1 Starting point in making contact interactions

After you have resolved any modeling interferences you will next need to consider whether to use Contact Set (Local Interaction in SOLIDWORKS 2021) or a Component Contact set up. Either path you select you will see additional info on what you choose of your model and if one may be easier to solve than the other when running an analysis. Also, I recommend reviewing a blog we did in the past called “Understanding contact hierarchy in SOLIDWORKS Simulation” because knowing which contacts are actually being calculated can be the difference between a good result and a wasted analysis. See Figure 2 below.

Contact set selection

Fig. 2 Contact interaction info

After you have chosen a particular contact interaction you will then see a list of types to choose from. Each one is listed in Figure 3 below. You will see that one contact interaction has more options than the other and they both do have similar verbiage for certain types, but they behave differently in how they are applied to your model.

Contact and Component set options

Fig. 3 Contact interaction options


Now you are asking yourself, what do all the contact types mean? Well, you will see in Figure 4 below a description of what each one is. What’s interesting is Bonded, Free (Allow Penetration), and Contact (No Penetration) for both Contact Set (Local Interaction) and Component Contact do not have the same description. Choose wisely which one best fits your pre-processing setup.

Contact and Component type descriptions

Fig. 4 Contact interaction type description



The whole flow chart in one can be seen in Figure 5 below.

Contact interaction flow chart

Fig. 5 Contact interaction flow chart


I hope you found this blog useful and helped answer any questions on what contact interaction type to choose from and provided an easier thought process on which one to select for your SOLIDWORKS linear and nonlinear static analysis studies.

Nick Pusateri
Application Engineer
Computer Aided Technology, Inc.


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