Posts Tagged ‘Simulation’

SOLIDWORKS Simulation 2015 – FEA Solvers

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

A few years ago I wrote an article regarding Solver Selection for SOLIDWORKS Simulation.  At that time we had two solver choices – FFEPlus and Direct Sparse.  Last year, SOLIDWORKS Simulation 2014 introduced the Large Problem Direct Sparse Solver.  Now with the introduction of SOLIDWORKS Simulation 2015 there are improvements to the FFEPlus solver as well as a new solver, the Intel Direct Sparse Solver.

2014-1125 Solver Options

Per the SOLIDWORKS 2015 What’s New documentation, the FFEPlus solver has improvements to connector formulation and contacts.  The new Intel Direct Sparse solver is available for static, thermal, frequency, linear dynamic and nonlinear study types.  Like you, I want to see how these changes affect the solution times for my finite element studies.  Faster solutions are always welcome!

Using SOLIDWORKS Simulation 2014 and 2015 I solved several different study types to compare solver performance.  The benchmark files I used were a combination of SOLIDWORKS Simulation Training files and customer files from technical support cases.  All of these files were originally in SOLIDWORKS 2014 format.  For testing these models in 2015, I used Pack-and-Go to create a version to update.  Once I opened the files in 2015, I forced the model to rebuild then saved them to the 2015 file format.  In Simulation, I updated the components for the FEA study and re-meshed the finite element model.  Finally, after the solution completed, I recorded the solve time for each study type and solver combination using the Solver Messages information.  The results of my testing can be seen in the included picture.

2014-1125 Solver Performance Blog

For the improved FFEPlus solver in 2015, I calculated how much faster a study ran compared to the 2014 solution.  Half of the study types investigated had improved solution times while the other half were slightly slower.  Until I can investigate several more finite element models, I’ll consider this a draw.  As for the new Intel Direct Sparse solver, the solve times calculated were quite impressive!  The percentages shown are how much faster the Intel Direct Sparse solver was compared to either the (original) Direct Sparse or the Large Problem Direct Sparse solver.  In all six studies, the Intel Direct Sparse solver performed better than the other Sparse solvers.  The Intel solver really shined for Steady State Thermal (62%), Linear Buckling (46%) and Linear Static (31%) studies for the models I investigated compared to the Direct Sparse solver.  To be fair, the Large Problem Direct Sparse solver is intended for Finite Element Models with greater than 1.5 million degrees of freedom, which I did not investigate during this testing.

With the majority of our work, what we care about most is getting the job done.  With regards to Finite Element Analysis, this means getting the study to calculate to completion.  If that study can be solved faster by choosing one solver over another, all the better!  For SOLIDWORKS Simulation 2015, I think I’ve identified my default solver of choice – the Intel Direct Sparse solver.  Now go make your products better – faster – with SolidWorks Simulation!

Bill Reuss

Elite Application Engineer CAE Technical Specialist 3DVision Technologies

Stress-Strain Curves and SolidWorks Simulation

Monday, July 7th, 2014

Recently, I helped a customer create a custom material for a Simulation study.  This included the input of tensile test data to generate a stress-strain curve.  Input might be generous as it was actually copying and pasting data from a spreadsheet into the custom material dialog.  Data entry aside, sometimes you encounter a constraint that you either didn’t know or possibly forgot about.  In this case, it has to do with the number of allowable data points for creating a stress-strain curve.  Most input for SOLIDWORKS Simulation materials are limited to 1000 points of data.  Not so with a stress-strain curve.

The data generated by the test lab included several hundred lines of stress and strain values, all measured during the tensile test of the specimen material.  As Engineer’s, we like lots of data!  When I copied and pasted these hundreds of lines into the material dialog box, however, Simulation indicated it was too much.  The warning encountered was that only 200 data points are permissible.

2014-0409a S-S Curve too many points

The fix, of course, is to reduce the amount of data to 200 or less lines of input.  Yes, there is an Enhancement Request to provide a method of smoothing out imported stress-strain data, but until that is implemented we must manually reduce the data.

While on the topic of stress-strain curves, there are some materials in the SOLIDWORKS Material Library that already include stress-strain curves.  Look for any material name that has an (SS) at the end.  The source of stress-strain curve data for those materials is the “Atlas of Stress-Strain Curves (2nd Ed.)”, published by ASM International.  Also, if you’re performing a Fatigue study, there are some materials with S-N curves built in.  Look for (SN) at the end of the material name.

2014-0409c SW Material LIbrary with SS data

Now go make your products better with SolidWorks Simulation!

 

Bill Reuss

Elite Application Engineer CAE Technical Specialist 3DVision Technologies

Duplicate SolidWorks Plastics Project

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

SolidWorks Simulation allows a user to ‘Duplicate’ a study, and SolidWorks Flow Simulation allows a user to ‘Clone’ a project.  Why not SolidWorks Plastics?  SolidWorks plastics is an injection molding software that allows a user to understand the manufacturability of a plastic part.  Because this is a fully integrated SolidWorks Simulation product different Projects are related to configurations in the part.  To re-use the setup from project to project please follow the instructions in the link below.

Duplicate Plastics Project

This functionality allows a user to quickly duplicate a project to change different parameters and re-run.  If you are currently using SolidWorks Plastics this information will speed up your work flow and Simulation setup times.

Robert Warren

Elite Application Engineer CAE Technical Specialist 3DVision Technologies

Simulation 2014 Interface Improvements

Monday, November 11th, 2013

Last month I wrote about Toolbox fasteners with SolidWorks Simulation and how they can be converted automatically to connectors in simulation studies.  Today I’m going to focus on improvements to the Simulation interface for post processing.  One thing that Simulation users can struggle with is selecting the correct option for modifying the plots generated from an analysis.  Even with as many years as I have used SolidWorks Simulation, I occasionally edit the definition of a plot when I meant to modify the chart options or the settings.  With Simulation 2014, that is no longer an issue with a unified interface.

2013-1111a Interface changes

The other welcome interface change is what has been described as ‘finally like Flow’.  With SolidWorks Flow Simulation, changing an output plot from one quantity to another is done from the plot legend in the graphics window.  In SolidWorks Simulation 2014, we have a similar interface for modifying output.  By using either the right or left button click on the legend, we have access to changing the plot type, fringe options, the probe tool, animation, legend scale and many more options.

2013-1111b Interface changes

These simple changes will reduce wasted button clicks by the dozens when post-processing Simulation results!  What other new features have you found in Simulation 2014 will help you get your work completed faster?   I’ll write about a couple more next month! Now go make your products better with SolidWorks Simulation!

Bill Reuss

Elite Application Engineer CAE Technical Specialist 3DVision Technologies

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