The Finite Element Analysis (FEA) software component of SimScale enables engineers to perform simulations on structures and components, including linear static and nonlinear quasi-static analyses. In a linear case with applied static loads, the structural response can be determined in a single step. All types of nonlinearities can also be taken into account, including geometric, contact, and material nonlinearity.

SimScale allows engineers to analyze the dynamic response of structure and components subjected to time-dependent loads and displacements, also called dynamic analysis. Initial conditions within the dynamic analysis feature, support the analysis of impact loads and resulting structural degradation. Time-dependent calculation of displacements, as well as stresses and strains in one or multiple solid bodies, is possible and in contrast to static analysis, inertial effects can be accounted for. In the post-processor, it is possible to analyze single-time steps as well as the dynamic performance over time. Similar to static analysis, engineers can evaluate deformations, or critical stresses and modify designs based on these insights.

The Frequency Analysis simulation type allows engineers to calculate natural (under no external load excitation) frequencies of oscillation of a structure and its corresponding mode shapes. The resulting frequencies and deformation modes are dependent on the geometry and material properties of the structure, with or without displacement constraints. In SimScale, Code_Aster is used to perform the frequency analysis. The results from a frequency analysis enable users to evaluate the overall rigidity of a structure. The lower frequencies of oscillation can be used as inputs for seismic or wind load assessments for larger structures. Also, in parts and structures subjected to variable frequency loads, the fundamental frequencies are used to avoid resonance between the natural oscillation modes and the applied load. Frequency or modal analysis can help determine the eigenfrequencies (eigenvalues) and eigenmodes (mode shapes) of a structure due to vibration. The results are important parameters to understand and model structures that are subject to dynamic loading conditions. Additionally, a harmonic analysis can show the peak response of a system under a load in a given range of frequencies applied in buildings, bridges, rotors, spring mounts, or engines.

Thermomechanical analysis is loosely coupled but integrated thermal and mechanical features that allow engineers to investigate the structural and thermal behavior of a model by accounting for the thermal influences on the structural load state on a body. Again, Code_Aster is used for this type of analysis of one or multiple bodies at once. The thermal and structural fields are solved sequentially, in an iterative process, where the results of each thermal step serve as inputs for the corresponding structural step. The stress state of the structure depends on the structural constraints and loads, as well as on the thermal expansion under thermal loads, therefore offering an accurate reflection of the physics in the system.

Download our datasheet and learn how engineers designing and testing mechanical components and devices can leverage powerful features in SimScale to solve realistic structural mechanics problems dealing with static, dynamic, and thermal loading conditions.

**Cloud-native Parameterization:** Enables multiple design CAD geometries simulated in parallel with robust CAD handling and automatic meshing.

**Solver Speed & Accuracy:** SimScale meets and in many cases exceeds the accuracy of traditional CAE simulation tools (speed does not compromise accuracy).

- Advanced analysis capabilities using Code_Aster bolstered by additional state-of-the-art meshing and post-processing tools.
- Extensive materials library and ability to import manufacturer’s data

**Ease-of-use:** SimScale takes away the complexity of preparing imported geometry and allows designers to focus on analysis by providing an intuitive, automated, and robust UI that reduces person-hours required for simulation, and also makes it accessible to non-experts/designers.

- Easy CAD import
- Auto meshing and manual refinement where needed
- A guided workflow for simulation setup including a library of templates
- Automatic results post-processing, statistical results, and image generation including plots, images, and animations.

**API Integration & Automation:** The SimScale API facilitates bi-directional coupling with many popular CAE and design optimization tools such as Onshape®, Sketchup®, and more, allowing customization and app development engineering teams or third-party developers. The API is accessible using a Python or C SDK.

**CAD Interoperability**

SimScale can import various file formats making it easy for engineers to work with their preferred CAD tools including; Onshape, AutoCAD®, and Sketchup as well as importing common file formats such as STL, DWG, IGES, and more. *CAD mode* is a dedicated environment to interact with your CAD model, delete, extrude, or scale CAD parts, and perform CAD-related operations directly within the platform.

**CAD file associativity:** Associativity between varying CAD files is applied automatically in SimScale, maintaining naming conventions for parts/faces from the original CAD model. This means that when swapping CAD files for comparative studies, users don’t have to reassign boundary conditions, mesh settings, or result control outputs, making

**CAD Editing**

Known as *CAD mode* in SimScale equips users with a set of CAD simplification tools and reduces back-and-forth between SimScale and CAD software comparing two or more CAD variants of a single product much faster.

*“Autonomous robotics require demanding engineering simulation that can account for a broad range of physical phenomena. ANYmal robots work in both natural and industrial sites, whilst being exposed to challenging atmospheres including greasy, dusty, or even explosive environments. These must be accounted for when designing any of its hardware components. With SimScale we found our ideal balance between ease of use, variety of analysis types, and the ability to handle complex physics. We ultimately realized that SimScale’s customer service was the most welcome benefit of all. Their expert involvement allowed even the most inexperienced engineers to run reliable simulation studies.”*

**Dr. Alessandro Scafato, Senior Development Engineer** at ANYbotics

*“The main advantage to use SimScale for us is to have a fast and simple way to get FEM calculation results. We don’t really need experience with Code_Aster but still get really quick and reliable results. Also, the subscription price is reasonable.”*

**Sandro Pinent, Managing Partner** at Schübeler Technologies

*“At Quantex, the SimScale platform gives us access to powerful tools, in an economic package. The support is outstanding and helps add the most value to our engineering capabilities. Knowing that the manufacturing defects would generally never exceed the tested maximum thickness, the production tolerance limits were increased by 50%.”*

**Jonathan Ford, Engineer **at Quantex

Static simulation allows time-invariant calculation of displacements, stresses, and strains in one or multiple 3D solid bodies.

**Steady Loads**– Determine the displacements and stresses in structures or components caused by applied constraints and steady loads while ignoring inertia and damping effects. Static analysis can be either linear or nonlinear.**Linear**– the numerical model of the solid parts is not updated as the simulation progresses. Therefore, during the entire simulation, the loads, deformations, and physics will take into account the initial state of the geometry. For this reason, a linear behavior is only a good approximation when the model undergoes small deformations and small rotations**Non-Linear**– The Nonlinear option is a better choice when large rotations and deformations are expected. The mathematical model is updated after each step, allowing a precise computation of the results throughout the simulation**Snap-fit**– The displacement initialization is useful for translating the initial position of certain parts for the simulation. In the example below, the initial CAD model for a snap-fit analysis has both parts connected. By applying a displacement initial condition to one of the parts, we can disconnect both parts without changing the CAD model**Automatic Contact**– all contacts in the system will be detected automatically whenever a new CAD assembly is assigned to a simulation (this also includes simulation creation). By default, all contacts in the assembly will be created as Bonded contacts. Linear contacts work under the assumption that the parts remain bonded or have small relative deformations**Non-Linear Contact**– non-linear contacts can take into account large sliding, separation, and collision between the parts.**Friction**– Allows selecting if the tangential friction force of type Coulomb will be considered in the simulation. If selected, there are two available choices for the algorithm: Newton and Fixed-point automatic, with the same parameters as described above. This allows the solution of the friction force to use a different algorithm than the normal force.**Large Strains**– Apply large strains on materials that show non-linear materials properties and large shape changes.**Elasto-plasticity**– Elasto-plastic material model describes an elastic behavior until the onset of plasticity after which the solid material undergoes irreversible deformation when subjected to loading.**Hyperelasticity**– Hyperelastic materials are a special class of materials that tend to respond elastically when they are subjected to very large strains. They show both nonlinear material behavior as well as large shape changes**Cyclic Symmetry**– constraint enables users to model only a sector of a 360° cyclic periodic structure, It also reduces computational time and memory consumption considerably

Dynamic simulation allows the time-dependent calculation of displacements as well as stresses and strains in one or multiple 3D solid bodies. In contrast to static analysis, inertia effects are taken into account. Additionally, the time steps performed represent real-time.

**Linear & Non-Linear****Drop-Test –**in this analysis we typically have two main components: a moving test specimen (which can be a single body or an assembly) and the fixed ‘ground’ body. The simulation is to compute the impact-driven deformation of the bodies due to the kinetic energy being converted into deformation.**Shock –**impact loading or shock analysis in dynamic simulations where sudden changes or deformation might occur due to forces and/or acceleration for example.**Material Damping –**In a dynamic simulation, damping means energy dissipated out of the system. The material damping has its origin in the physical behavior of the material. Damping (and thus energy dissipation) is observed due to internal friction of the material. Several models are available in SimScale to mimic this behavior.

The thermomechanical analysis type uses Code_Aster to calculate the structural and thermal behavior of one or multiple bodies at once. The thermal and structural result fields are calculated sequentially, in an iterative process, where the results of a thermal step serve as input for the next structural step. The stress state of the structure depends on the structural constraints and loads, as well as on the thermal expansion under thermal loads.

**Thermal Stress –**structural forces and influences on a body due to thermal response**Thermal Expansion –**The stress state of the structure depends on the structural constraints and loads, as well as on the thermal expansion under thermal loads.**Interference-Fit****Thermal Shock –**calculates stresses on a body due to temperature-related structural changes.

The Frequency Analysis simulation type allows the computation of natural (under no external load excitation) frequencies of oscillation of a structure and the corresponding oscillation mode shapes. The resulting frequencies and deformation modes are dependent on the geometry and material distribution of the structure, with or without displacement constraints. In SimScale, the Code Aster solver is used to perform the frequency analysis. The results from a frequency analysis enable you to evaluate the overall rigidity of your structure, as well as the rigidity of local regions. The lower frequencies of oscillation can be used as input for the seismic or wind load assessment and computation of structures. Also, in parts and structures subjected to variable frequency loads, the fundamental frequencies are used to avoid resonance between the natural oscillation modes and the applied load.

**Frequencies –**calculate the frequencies of oscillation of a structure and the corresponding oscillation mode shapes**Eigenfrequencies –**the oscillation frequency for the calculated mode**Eigenmodes –**deformation modes or shapes as a result of excitation at discrete frequencies**Prestress for rotating parts**

The harmonic analysis type enables the user to simulate the steady-state structural response of solids applied with periodical (sinusoidal) loads. This is similar to a transient dynamic analysis where inertia effects are taken into account, but compared to transient analysis, the results are not time-dependent but frequency-dependent. Thus, making it possible to compute the response of a structure subjected to vibrating forces or displacements over a frequency spectrum.

- Sinusoidal Loads – apply various types of loads
**Forced Vibration –**define custom inputs to calculate vibration response**Shaker Table Test –**digitally perform shaker table testing according to required standards**Frequency Response –**compute the response of a structure subjected to vibrating forces or displacements over a frequency spectrum**Damping –**there are two damping models available for harmonic analysis: Hysteretic damping and Rayleigh damping

SimScale users benefit from recreating non-linear effects in their simulations. Both geometric (structural) and material nonlinearities can be modeled. Engineers can simulate products, components, or structures where the geometry responds in a non-linear way to applied loads as well as material properties that can mimic elasticity and plasticity. For example, a material model describes an elastic behavior until the onset of plasticity after which the solid material undergoes irreversible deformation when subjected to loading. Similarly, hyper-elastic materials reflect nonlinear responses. Drop-tests are common using this analysis type to evaluate maximum stresses and deformation.

Many industrial and electrical devices and components require vibration testing to conform to performance, safety, and compliance standards. A common application of vibration analysis is to recreate a digital twin of physical shaker table testing for example, where products would be tested on a physical apparatus. Simulation offers significantly more insight into product evaluation and can inform optimization studies at the design stage before moving on to costly prototyping.

Handled as a boundary condition, an axial force is applied on one or more cylindrical bodies, and then the resulting length of the cylinder is fixed, all before the other load boundary conditions are applied to the model. This technique is useful to model the loads and interactions related to the tightening of bolted connections. Available for all structural analysis subtypes, it can be used to predict peak stresses and thermal performance, quantify plastic strain and ensure effective contact at bolted flanges.

Build and manage custom templated workflows using the collaboration features in SimScale projects that come as standard. Expert users can configure a simulation project for a particular type of analysis including one-time setup for the boundary conditions, simulation parameters, mesh settings, and even specific result controls. Additional users can then use this template again and again, without needing expert CFD knowledge or the need to edit advanced settings. This style of working allows multiple scenario analyses using CAD-associated design and geometry changes, all simulated in parallel by CAD specialists and non-expert CFD users that are part of a larger engineering team. This feature enables engineering managers and team leads to maintain the quality and fidelity of the simulation input and output with administrative privileges and access to all projects.

The displacement initialization is useful for translating the initial position of certain parts for the simulation. In the plastic push-pin image below, for example, an initial CAD model for a snap-fit analysis has both parts connected. By applying a displacement initial condition to one of the parts, we can disconnect both parts without changing the CAD model enabling fast and accurate snap-fit evaluation.

Digitally perform shaker table testing according to required standards by virtually replicating a vibration test performed on physical test benches. A good example is a harmonic simulation needed to understand and improve battery product design to help meet international vibration test standards relating to the transport of dangerous goods. Before lithium cells/batteries can be transported, for example, they must have successfully passed certain physical tests. These tests simulate transport conditions like pressure, temperature, crush, and impact for long-distance transportation. Shaker table testing can assist in calculating maximum stresses, deflection magnitudes, and resonant behavior.

No. This is a feature that is currently in development.

You can find template projects for structural/thermal simulations in the projects library.

Yes, you can manually refine the mesh as needed.

Yes, using the SimScale API.

Yes! Structural analysis is the same as structural mechanics?