Determining which Faces were defined as Shell Elements in SOLIDWORKS Simulation

Article by Scott Durksen, CSWE updated March 28, 2017

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If you’ve setup a SOLIDWORKS Simulation study and needed to define solid bodies as Shell elements on defined faces, you should realize that a Shell Element is only generated on the face you’ve selected.  Therefore every Load, Fixture, Contact Set and Mesh Control also must be defined on the same face otherwise you will receive errors when running the study.

SOLIDWORKS Simulation - Shell Element Definition

SOLIDWORKS Simulation – Shell Definition

In larger studies with several defined Shells, it’s not always easy to remember which face(s) you defined as a Shell Element.  But instead of manually finding the component in the Simulation tree and editing the Shell Element definition, here is a quick way to determine the defined face.

First select the component of interest in the graphics window to see the component highlighted in the Simulation tree

Select Component from Graphics Window to find in Simulation Tree

Select Component from Graphics Window to find in Simulation Tree

Then expand the component in the tree using the arrow and click on the Shell definition feature

Expand Component in Tree and select Shell Face Definition

Expand Component in Tree and select Shell Definition

Notice that the face visible in the screenshot above is not highlighted when we select the Shell definition.  However rotating the model will show that the inside face is highlighted and therefore that is the defined face for the Shell Element.

Inside Face Defined as Shell

Inside Face Defined as Shell

Now we can apply our Contact Sets, Loads, Fixtures or Mesh Controls to THIS face of the component and you’re good to go.

Contact Set defined on Shell Face

Contact Set defined on Shell Face

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Scott Durksen, CSWE

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