Design for the Ages with SOLIDWORKS Simulation Fatigue Analysis

Article by Angus Hudson, CSWP updated July 3, 2018


Whether it’s game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, or 20 years into your design’s 30 year operational life, fatigue is an ever present concern that must be addressed! Stress fatigue can cause catastrophic design failures with little to no warning, making its prevention a primary concern in cyclic loading applications. The Washington Capitals had to undergo years of strenuous training and grueling workout regimes as preparation for their 2018 Cup run. Luckily for you and your designs, SOLIDWORKS Simulation Fatigue Analysis (included with SOLIDWORKS Simulation Standard, Professional, and Premium versions) allows you to ensure fatigue resistance from the comfort of your desk, letting you skip the gym entirely!

Predicting and avoiding fatigue failure is key in cyclic loading applications

SOLIDWORKS Simulation Fatigue Studies

Fatigue studies are fully integrated in SOLIDWORKS Simulation, meaning that starting a new study is as simple as the click of a button. Linear static analyses present a snapshot view of your designs’ responses to the various loading configurations they will experience.

Static studies are used to define loading events, complete with number of cycles and loading scenarios.

Static studies are used to define loading events, complete with number of cycles and loading scenarios.

The results of these studies are directly utilized by a fatigue study, enabling you to quickly turn momentary snapshots into an analysis of the full design life. Reusing data from other studies keeps setup to a minimum, letting you get your results faster. Thanks to SOLIDWORKS Simulation’s inherent part associativity, you can quickly rerun studies with the same setup after making design changes. These benefits allow you to obtain fatigue information through your entire design process, enabling you to make better decisions along the way.

SOLIDWORKS Simulation fatigue analysis utilizes a stress-life approach to analyzing high-cycle fatigue. When defining studies, users specify which static studies to apply, as well as the number of cycles and method of loading (fully reversed, fractional, etc). Upon completing a simulation, SOLIDWORKS graphically displays the results, allowing users to quickly gain insights into their design. Results can be configured to show percent damage for a defined design life, allowing designers ensure safety and better predict inspection requirements. Results can also show a distribution of the cycles to failure, which can assist with end of life recommendations and factor of safety calculations. Studies from various loading scenarios can then be compared side by side, making it easy quickly check the effects of design or specification changes.

SOLIDWORKS Simulation makes it easy to compare the results of numerous studies

SOLIDWORKS Simulation makes it easy to compare the results of numerous studies

Validate your design

SOLIDWORKS Simulation gives you the tools needed to ensure the validity of your designs. However, it pushes this value further by putting the tools in your hands from the start of your design process. The ability to check your design at any stage reduces costly late-stage design changes, and is a valuable supplement to empirical testing. Check out more SOLIDWORKS Simulation blog posts to learn how to get your product designs to market faster.

Need to learn fatigue analysis?

Attend a SOLIDWORKS Simulation training course either live online or in a Canadian city near you.

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Angus Hudson, CSWP

Angus is a Certified SOLIDWORKS Professional and Applications Expert, based in our Vancouver, British Columbia office.