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SimScale Update 12/2015: Community, Collaboration, and FEA Features

David Heiny
BlogAbout SimScaleSimScale Update 12/2015: Community, Collaboration, and FEA Features

We’ve already talked about the recent major release of the SimScale Community Plan, which gives anyone with an Internet connection access to industry-grade, professional engineering simulation. Besides this pricing model update, we’ve deployed a lot of functionality, such as advanced assembly FEA support and more powerful CAD processing capabilities.

FEA analysis with SimScale von mises stress fea simulation

Let’s have a look at a couple of the new features:

Collaboration and Know-How Exchange

The core idea behind the community is to reduce the effort and overhead it takes to both learn and apply simulation know-how in day-to-day engineering work. Each public project can be seen as a “piece of simulation know-how” that all SimScale users can use to accelerate their own simulation work.

SimScale Public simulation Projects, f1 car aerodynamics cfd analysis

Instead of starting a simulation project from scratch, the collection of public projects allows users to search for a similar project that another user has already completed. Each project comes with an overview page that provides top-level information about the project:

  • 3D visualizations of all assets (CAD models, meshes, and simulation results)
  • A brief description of what this project is about
  • Quality indicators such as how often this project has been copied, viewed and favorited by other users
  • A comment section where you can review discussions about the project or ask questions yourself

This overview page enables you to quickly check whether or not the project is relevant to your work. If it is, you can even go one step further and view the entire simulation setup in all detail via the “View” button. If you find something that you want to reuse, you can make a copy for yourself and start working with this project.

Color-Coded Parts in Assemblies

We have introduced colors in the pre-processing viewer. Parts within assemblies are automatically colored differently in both the CAD model as well as the mesh. This provides an extra layer of definition for contacts between the parts, which makes it much easier to differentiate between them. The images below show the assembly models of a toggle clamp and a monoshock wishbone, both of which are available to all users under the public projects section.

Pre processing with SimScale - toggle clamp and car monoshock wishbone 3d model

Work with Prepared Faces within Polygonal Models

Polygonal CAD models, such as STLs, are widely used by engineers, particularly for flow simulations. SimScale has always supported the upload of STL files, but it was considered one shell, which made another split operation necessary in order to address a single face.

Car 3D model on SimScale

The comparison above shows the difference the new importer makes: the old workflow on the left always treated polygonal data as one shell, even if the model was split into multiple shells. The new importer detects if the polygonal data is split and makes all shells available for assignment purposes.

Faster FEA Simulation Setup of Assemblies

Two new concepts for finite element analysis have been introduced: fictitious clearance allows the simple setup of pre-stressed bolts within FEA simulations. The image below shows the artificial gap between the plate and the nut of the bolt.

FEA simulation displacement

This distance is defined as a virtual layer between the contact surfaces and can be a function of time or the mesh coordinates. The animation below demonstrates how the bolt is stressed by the layer increasing. With this concept, bolted assemblies can now be simulated faster and wih greater accuracy.

FEA analysis with SimScale von mises stress animation gif

Furthermore, a new “position tolerance” in the definition of FEA contacts between parts increases the accuracy of contact forces within assemblies. The tolerance ensures that only nodes close enough to the contact surfaces are treated as being in contact, which yields more accurate results.

Download of 2D Data Plots

There are a lot of places in the SimScale workflow where 2D plots are used to visualize results, such as:

  • Residual convergence behavior
  • Forces and moments acting on parts
  • Volume flux at a specific section of the flow channel
  • Average pressure on a specific surface
  • and many more

All of these plots can now be downloaded as an image (e.g., JPEG or PNG) or a table file (CSV, XLS) in order to further process/analyze them locally.

simulation results 2D plots SimScale

All of these features are only valuable if they truly help our users to achieve faster, more robust and reliable simulation results! So please let us know what you think about them and what you would like to see in the next releases.

If you want to read more about the new features that have been added to SimScale, here’s an article focused on marine engineering and ship simulation that looks at the previous product improvements.

To discover all the simulation features provided by SimScale, download the document below.


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