SimScale Update 12/2015: Community, FEA and more
We’ve already talked about the recent major release of SimScale, which introduced the new “Community Plan” that allows everybody with an internet connection to use industry-grade, professional engineering simulation. Besides this pricing model update, plenty of new functionality such as advanced assembly FEA support and more powerful CAD processing capabilities have been deployed. Let’s have a look at a couple of the new features:
Collaboration & 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 the 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.
So instead of starting a simulation project from scratch, the collection of public projects allows searching for a similar project that another user 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 & 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 introduced colors in the pre-processing viewer such that parts within assemblies are automatically colored differently — both in the CAD model as well as the mesh. This does not only look great but makes the definition of contacts between the parts much easier. The images below show the assembly models of a toggle clamp and a mono shock wishbone that are visible to everybody under the public projects section.
Work with prepared faces within polygonal models
Especially for flow simulations, polygonal CAD models such as STLs are widely used. SimScale 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.
The comparison above shows the difference the new importer makes: the old workflow on the left treated polygonal data always 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.
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 shows how the bolt is stressed through the layer increasing. With this concept, bolted assemblies can now be simulated faster and more accurate.
Furthermore a new “position tolerance” in the definition of FEA contacts between parts increases also 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 gives 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 these plots can now be downloaded either as an image (e.g. JPEG or PNG) or a table file (CSV, XLS) in order to further process/analyze them locally.
All these features are only as good as they help our users getting reliable simulation results, faster and more robust! Therefore let us know, what you think about them and what you would like to see in one of the next releases.
If you want to read more about the new features added to SimScale, here’s an article with the previous product improvements, focused on marine engineering and ship simulation.