July 31, 2015


Simulation Contact Set

SolidWorksSimulation of assemblies or multi bodies requires the application of contact sets to define the interface between two objects.  If the contact sets are not defined properly we will obtain incorrect results.

Consider a simple weldment framed structure with a steel plate sitting on top.  

welded structure solidworks simulation

This weldment is fixed at the end of each leg and has a load applied to the plate on top.

welded structure conctact sets solidworks simulation

By default, SolidWorks Simulation treats weldments as beam elements and the plate on top as a solid element.  As such we have two different element types in this analysis; therefore we need to define a contact set.  As an option we can use the “automatically find contact set” function by selecting a beam element and the plate.  The software will find the connecting surface where you may apply a condition, in this case bonded.  This is repeated for all four faces.

contact sets in solidworks simulation

Upon closer inspection, we find those contact sets to be a face to face contact

contact sets

Following the creation of the contact sets we can mesh our model and run the analysis

simulation contact sets

simulation contact sets

However in doing so will result in an error message. 
This is because the contact set defined was incorrect.  When the contact sets were created they were treated as faces, however since this is a solid to a beam element, we need to select the beam element contact set under “Type”.  By redefining all four contact sets, remeshing and running the study, we now have the correct results.

contact sets in solidworks simulation

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