Physics Fun with Jamie: Setting Up a Frequency Analysis

Article by Jamie Hill, CSWE updated May 18, 2023


Welcome back to “Physics Fun with Jamie”. A frequency study in SOLIDWORKS FEA is a powerful tool for predicting the natural frequencies and mode shapes of a structure. It is used to identify any resonant frequencies that may lead to unwanted vibrations or failures. Here are some steps to follow when setting up a frequency study in SOLIDWORKS FEA.

  1. Define the model: Define the 3D model of the structure you want to analyze. This can be done in SOLIDWORKS or imported from other CAD software.
  2. Assign the material properties: Assign the appropriate material properties to the model. The material properties should be defined accurately to ensure accurate results.
  3. Define the loads and boundary conditions: Define the loads and boundary conditions that the model will experience in its operating environment. In a frequency study, the load should be zero.
  4. Generate the mesh: Generate the mesh for the model. The mesh size and type should be selected based on the complexity of the model and the accuracy required.
  5. Choose the frequency analysis type: Select the frequency analysis type in the SOLIDWORKS FEA menu. SOLIDWORKS FEA provides different options for frequency analysis, including linear frequency and nonlinear frequency.
  6. Set the solver options: Set the solver options in the SOLIDWORKS FEA menu, including convergence criteria, maximum iterations, and other options.
  7. Run the analysis: Run the frequency analysis and review the results. SOLIDWORKS FEA provides graphical representations of the results, including natural frequencies and mode shapes.
  8. Evaluate the results: Evaluate the results by comparing the natural frequencies with the applied loads. If the natural frequency of the structure is close to the frequency of the applied load, then there is a risk of resonance.
  9. Refine the model: Refine the model by adjusting the loads, boundary conditions, or material properties, and re-run the analysis.
  10. Finalize the design: Finalize the design by adjusting the geometry or material properties to avoid resonant frequencies and unwanted vibrations.

In conclusion, setting up a frequency study in SOLIDWORKS FEA is critical in evaluating the natural frequencies and mode shapes of a structure. By following these steps, you can ensure that your frequency study is accurate, efficient, and effective in avoiding unwanted vibrations and failures in your design.


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Jamie Hill, CSWE

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