Creating custom polymer material in SOLIDWORKS Plastics

Article by TriMech Solutions, LLC updated February 17, 2023


SOLIDWORKS Plastics material database contains thousands of materials used in injection molding. This includes polymers, metals for the molds and inserts and coolant materials. Depending upon the simulation requirement users can assign polymer materials to Injection units, polymer or metal for Insert domains, metals for mold domains and coolant material for cooling channel domains. Database materials can be sorted by Family i.e. category such as PVC, ABS, PP or Company name. This extensive database can be customized as needed. This article describes how users can custom-define polymer in the material database.

Similar to SOLIDWORKS Simulation database you cannot directly modify the properties of materials existing in the database. You will have to first copy an existing material stored in the Default Database to the User-defined Database, and then modify its properties.

Creating Custom Polymer material in SOLIDWORKS Plastics

Once the material is copied over to the user-defined side, the properties can be modified as needed for analysis. The following list contains the twelve absolute minimum number of parameters that need to be defined for the custom plastic material to the database.  Please note we recommend the use of material supplier-published values.

  1. ‘Polymer Product’
  2. Melt Temperature’
  3. ‘Mold Temperature’
  4. ‘Part Ejection Temperature’
  5. ‘Transition Temperature’
  6. ‘Specific Heat’
  7. ‘Thermal Conductivity’
  8. ‘Viscosity’
  9. ‘PVT’
  10. ‘Thermal Expansion Coefficient’
  11. ‘Young Modulus’
  12. ‘Poisson’s Ratio’

define a custom plastics material to the SOLIDWORKS

To successfully define a custom plastics material to the SOLIDWORKS® Plastics ‘User-defined Database’, with all the parameters, users can include the general material data as well such as Melt temperature, Mold temperature, part ejection temperature, Glass transition temperature, Specific heat, thermal conductivity, viscosity, % fiber for materials with fiber and many more as discussed in SW Plastics Training and Help topics. if material etc.

When you don’t have the material properties for certain polymers, you can use the search option inside the database to find another material of similar grade by enabling search by various parameters such as melt temperature, ejection temperature etc.

add a new Polymer family

In addition, if the required family of materials does not exist, you can add a new Polymer family as well.

adding a polymer family in solidworks

For Thermoset polymers, the database stores the following material properties, if they are available from the manufacturers:

  • PVT data for the cured and uncured states.
  • Heat of Reaction and Induction Time Constants.
  • Ejection Conversion and Initial Conversion.

The solver is also enhanced to account for these additional material properties (when available) to improve the accuracy of Fill, Pack, and Warp simulations.

There is also an option to import the material file such as in Excel spreadsheet format or Materiality XML format.

import material file

Similarly, a user-defined custom material or entire dataset of customized materials can be exported as shown in image below.

user-defined custom material or entire dataset of customized materials

This option to customize materials as needed in SOLIDWORKS Plastics enables you to perform realistic plastics simulation and predict defects early in the product design phase, thereby avoiding costly mold rework.

Related Links

Certified SOLIDWORKS Services available from Javelin

Javelin can help you to:

Find Related Content by TAG:

TriMech Solutions, LLC

TriMech provides thousands of engineering teams with 3D design and rapid prototyping solutions that work hand-in-hand, from sketch to manufacturing. Javelin became a subsidiary of TriMech Solutions LLC in 2021.