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How to See Displacements in Structural Simulations?

This article explains the procedure to visualize the displacements of geometry parts in FEA simulations within SimScale’s online post-processor.

Solution

In finite element analysis (FEA), the parts of our geometries will usually move. This can be due to loads, translation, rotation, vibration, or thermal effects.

In the post-processor, a visual representation of displacements is disabled by default. Users can enable it at any time by following the steps shown in Figure 1:

enabling displacement in the post-processing environment
Figure 1: Steps to enable a visual representation of displacement in the viewer.
  1. In the post-processing environment, select Results;
  2. A new tab with parameters opens up. Head over to the displacement tab, named DIS;
  3. Simply enable displacement and it will be visible in the viewer.

As an example, here’s a wing structure subjected to pressure from bottom to top:

representation of displacement in simulations
Figure 2: Comparison between the visual representation of the displacement disabled (1) and enabled (2).

The user can also apply a scale factor to see the displacements more clearly. To do so, follow the steps from the figure below:

adjusting displacement scale factor
Figure 3: Adjusting the scale factor for displacements.
  1. After enabling displacement, click on DIS: displacement, located just under Results;
  2. A tab with options will open up. Use the sliding bar to adjust the scale factor. This way, the user can either damp or amplify the visual representation of displacements.

It’s also possible to combine the visualization of displacements with the animations filter. This is particularly useful for nonlinear static, dynamic and harmonic analysis types.

Find below an example of animation from a sheet metal stamping simulation. The displacements from the press and the sheet metal are shown:

sheet metal stamping simulation
Animation 1: Sheet metal stamping process, showing contours for von Mises stress.

For more information about the post-processing of finite element analysis simulations, make sure to check out the following pages:

Note

If none of the above suggestions solved your problem, then please post the issue on our forum or contact us.

Last updated: October 18th, 2020

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