Offset Definition of Shell Elements [VIDEO]

Article by Scott Durksen, CSWE updated April 20, 2013


When using Shell elements in your Simulation studies it is important to define the offset of your shell to ensure that the geometry accurately represents the 3D model.

The default offset selection in a shell definition is Middle Surface.  Therefore the defined thickness will have half of the material on either side of the surface.  If you require all of the material on one side or the other, the Top or Bottom surface can be applied.  The direction is defined by the orientation of the mesh.  If the Top offset was selected, then the material will start from the Top surface of the mesh (part colour) and go below.  If the Bottom offset was selected, then the material will start from the Bottom surface of the mesh (orange colour) and be above.  Flipping the mesh or adjusting the offset definition may be required.

In SolidWorks 2012 and prior, the orientation was verified after meshing the model by comparing the mesh to the offset setting.  New in SolidWorks 2013 is the ability to render the thickness in 3D to graphically see if the offset is correct.  Please watch the following video to see this new functionality.

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Scott Durksen, CSWE

Scott is a SOLIDWORKS Elite Applications Engineer and is based in our Dartmouth, Nova Scotia office.