Contact sets are fundamental to defining how a part reacts under loading conditions. We are going to review three contact sets: Rigid Connection, Link Connectors and Edge Weld.
Rigid Connections is quite simply making two faces rigid with respect to one another. Please be aware that by applying this condition the gap between the two faces will remain fixed, be sure that this is what you want. An example of rigid connection is as such:
We have two blocks with a rigid connection defined. Next we can apply a load:
Under loading conditions the blocks have undergone significant deformation. However the rigid connection between the two remains fixed as expected.
Link Connectors work in much the same way as rigid connections however the difference is they act on points rather than faces. The distance between the two points remains fixed regardless of the force applied. Note that link connectors do allow for point rotation. An example of link connectors is as such:
Here we have two bars with a link connector at the top vertex, however the bottom does not have a link connector. A small force is applied:
When the force is applied, the linked points at the top do not move, however the points at the bottom are free to move as expected resulting in higher displacement.
Edge Welds are used to simulate how a weld would behave under loading conditions. This works between a face and an edge as well as edge to edge. The software does this by applying a bonding condition on the nodes between one set and the second set. The weld size and material need to be set when defining an edge weld. SolidWorks uses the throat shear method to evaluate edge welds instead of just using stresses. The program calculates normal, bending and shear forces on the weld. A good example to use edge weld is the following assembly:
In this assembly the edge welds are applied along the connection points highlighted by the blue lines.
Once an analysis is complete we generate an edge weld size plot and ensure that the weld size defined at the connection is greater than the largest required thickness in the chart.
This refresher should help designers with setting up the correct connections in SolidWorks Simulation