SimScale CAE Forum

Bolted connection. What and how contact sets must be defined?


I am trying to simulate a two steel profiles, which are bolted together through steel plates.

My questions are:

  1. I anchor this bracket to the bottom of the concrete slab. So I need to constrain top face for displacement along Y axis, but just in positive axis. (In Solidworks I do it with virtual wall) How to model it in Simscale?

  2. When I am defining a contact set between plates and profile, do I need to make a separate contact for each connecting face or can I put them all in one selection (sorry if its not clear, please see the attached image below).

  3. For simulation of bolts, is there a more “smart” way to simulate it then just extrude a solid bodies? Maybe to plau with contact sets?

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Hi @gbalciunas and very nice project you have there!

Let me tag our FEA expert @ggiraldo here who might give you some quick tips on how to improve your simulation. I am pretty sure he has covered this in the past (trying to find the related post and will paste it here).

P.S.: I think that should be the post where the user had a similar question: Bonded contact is a good approach to avoid simulating bolts?



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To try to guide you in your questions:

You need to switch to a non-linear simulation, model the slab and apply physical contact relations. The slab doesn’t need to be precisely modeled, only wide enough to define the contact area and as thin as possible to keep element count low.

I suggest you to create one connection for each plate.

I think it depends on the structural details that you want to model. But generally, I think the cylinder models is a good approach.

Please don’t hesitate to hit back with more questions or if you want some commentary/suggestions on your simulation.