Physics Fun with Jamie: Best Practices for Applying Materials

Article by Jamie Hill, CSWE updated June 27, 2023

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Welcome back to “Physics Fun with Jamie”. SOLIDWORKS Finite Element Analysis (FEA) is a powerful tool for designing and analyzing products. The accurate representation of materials is an essential factor in the simulation’s success. Here are some best practices for applying materials in SOLIDWORKS FEA.

  1. Choose the correct material: The first step is to choose the right material for the simulation. SOLIDWORKS has a built-in material library, and you can select a material that matches your design’s physical properties. You can also import material properties from external sources or create custom materials.
  2. Specify material properties: Once you have chosen the material, specify its properties such as density, elastic modulus, Poisson’s ratio, and thermal expansion coefficient. These properties define how the material behaves under different loading conditions and temperatures.
  3. Use accurate geometry: The geometry of your model should be accurate to obtain precise results. Make sure that the model is properly scaled, and all the features are fully defined.
  4. Applying materials to all parts: Make sure that all the parts of your assembly have appropriate materials applied. Incomplete material assignment can lead to incorrect simulation results.
  5. Check for errors: Before running the simulation, check for any errors in the model, such as overlapping or interfering parts, gaps in the geometry, and missing material properties. These issues can cause inaccurate results.
  6. Verify the results: After running the simulation, verify the results by comparing them to the expected values. If the results are not as expected, review the model and material properties.
  7. Perform sensitivity analysis: Conduct sensitivity analysis to evaluate how changes in the material properties affect the simulation results. This analysis helps to identify the critical material properties and their impact on the design’s performance.
  8. Document the material properties: Document the material properties used in the simulation, including their source and any assumptions made. This documentation helps to ensure repeatability and reproducibility of the analysis.

In conclusion, applying materials correctly is crucial for obtaining accurate results in SOLIDWORKS FEA. By following these best practices, you can ensure that the material properties are properly defined and applied, leading to reliable and precise simulation results.

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Jamie Hill, CSWE

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