Physics Fun with Jamie: Best Practices for Applying Loads

Article by Jamie Hill, CSWE updated April 24, 2023


Welcome back to “Physics Fun with Jamie”. SOLIDWORKS is a powerful tool for finite element analysis (FEA) of mechanical systems. One of the key aspects of a successful FEA analysis is the accurate application of loads to the model. The following are some best practices for applying loads in SOLIDWORKS FEA.

  1. Understand the different types of loads: There are several types of loads that can be applied in SOLIDWORKS FEA, including point loads, distributed loads, and remote loads. Each type of load has its own unique characteristics and can affect the behavior of the model differently. It’s essential to understand the various types of loads and their impact on the model before applying them.
  2. Apply loads at the correct location: Loads should be applied at the correct location in the model, as this can have a significant impact on the results. For example, applying a load to a point that is not connected to the rest of the model can cause the load to be ignored or have an unexpected effect on the model’s behavior.
  3. Use symmetry to simplify load application: Symmetry can be used to simplify load application in SOLIDWORKS FEA. For example, if a model is symmetric, only half of the model needs to be analyzed. In this case, loads can be applied to only one side of the model, and the results can be mirrored to obtain the complete results.
  4. Consider the effect of boundary conditions: Boundary conditions can significantly affect the behavior of a model. When applying loads, it’s essential to consider the effect of boundary conditions on the model’s behavior. For example, if a model is fixed in place, the loads applied will affect the stresses and strains in the model differently than if the model were free to move.
  5. Verify load application using the visual feedback tool: SOLIDWORKS FEA includes a visual feedback tool that can be used to verify that loads have been applied correctly. This tool provides real-time feedback on the model’s behavior and can help identify issues with load application before running the analysis.

By following these best practices for applying loads in SOLIDWORKS FEA, you can ensure accurate and reliable results for your mechanical systems. To learn more, check out the rest of “Physics Fun with Jamie” blog series.


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Jamie Hill, CSWE

Jamie is a Certified SOLIDWORKS Expert working in the Javelin Oakville, Ontario, Canada office.