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Distributed Coupling for Bolts and Pins in SOLIDWORKS Simulation 2020

Article by Angus Hudson, CSWP created/updated September 30, 2019

Getting simulation results quickly, while maintaining accuracy, is always a top priority for any analyst. Replacing modeled fasteners with bolt or pin connectors in SOLIDWORKS Simulation is a great way to simplify your model, thus significantly reducing your solution time, without compromising on accuracy. The primary limitation of this simplification, is that stresses and deformations near connector interfaces were often artificially high, due to the rigid coupling SOLIDWORKS Simulation used to formulate the connectors. SOLIDWORKS 2020 brings improved accuracy to your simulations, with the new distributed coupling option for bolts and pins. Watch the demo below to learn more:

How does SOLIDWORKS Distributed Loading work?

Before we get to the “why?”, let’s first nerd out a bit over the specifics of what this distributed loading does. When you create a bolt or pin connector in SOLIDWORKS Simulation, it is represented by a very stiff beam with rigid bars attached to the nodes contacting the head/nut (in the case of a lose bolt), and/or rigid elements attached to the nodes on the cylindrical faces (for tight fit bolts or pins). The rigid coupling option in SOLIDWORKS 2020 (the only option available in earlier releases) requires all the nodes on the part geometry to maintain their position relative to each other, introducing a significant amount of stiffness to the coupled regions.

Bolt and Pin connectors are formulated as stiff beams with rigid bars connected to the interfacing nodes

Bolt and Pin connectors are formulated as stiff beams with rigid bars connected to the interfacing nodes

Distributed coupling was introduced for remote loads and masses in 2019, allowing the coupled nodes to move independently.

What can Distributed Coupling do for you?

The addition of distributed coupling for bolts and pins allows the head, nut, or shaft contacting nodes to deform independently, better simulating the actual behavior of your assemblies. This means more realistic stresses and displacements near connectors, and fewer artificial stress hot spots.

The rigid connection type (top) produces artificial stress concentrations in the bolt head region. The distributed option (bottom) produces a more realistic stress field.

The rigid connection type (top) produces artificial stress concentrations in the bolt head region. The distributed option (bottom) produces a more realistic stress field.

SOLIDWORKS 2020 Distributed Coupling Connection Type

In SOLIDWORKS Simulation 2020, the Connector property manager now includes the Distributed option as the default connection type for all new pin or bolt connections. Legacy connectors will remain as rigid connections but can be updated to the new option simply by editing the connection.

Distributed is the default in the new Connection Type section of the Connectors Property Manager

Distributed is the default in the new Connection Type section of the Connectors Property Manager

With distributed coupling for bolts and pins, SOLIDWORKS Simulation 2020 increases the accuracy of your simulations, without requiring any additional complexity. This is just one of the many methods available to SOLIDWORKS Simulation users to decrease solution time without compromising accuracy. Javelin’s professional SOLIDWORKS Simulation training enables users to take full advantage of these features, getting their products to market faster than the competition.

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Angus Hudson, CSWP

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

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