Truth is it feels great to hit a home run, but if you are trying to always knock it out of the ballpark you are going to have a lot of strikes. In working with a lot of people trying to come up with ideas for new products, it seems like we focus too much up front on trying to hatch a unicorn, and not enough on just having something that works. “Everyone wants to find the next great idea, what is wrong with just a good idea?” explores this and gives some examples of how trying to just solve a problem ended up being disruptive.
Take the Next Step!
Upgrade to the future of 3D Printing
- New user interface
- Remote print monitoring
- Built-in camera
- Auto calibration
- Improved software experience with GrabCAD Print
- Easy material change out
- Auto material changeover
Join PADT’s Application Engineer James Barker and Sales Executive Jeff Nichols for a webinar that will provide an in depth look at all three machines that make up the all new F123 3D Printer Series (F170, F270, & F370).
With simulation driven product design and development becoming the norm in the world of manufacturing, it has become increasingly relevant for companies to stay on the cutting edge in the search of the next best thing, in order to succeed in their respective industries.
Join PADT’s Co-Owner and Principal Engineer, Eric Miller for a live presentation on the benefits of ditching your current CAD-Embedded Software for state of the art ANSYS Simulation Solutions.
This webinar will dispel common misconceptions surrounding ANSYS Software, explain how to make the move away from CAD-Embedded tools, and present highly requested topics that ANSYS can provide solutions for, such as:
- Understanding fluid flow: accurate and fast CFD
- Real parts that exist in assemblies
- The importance of robust meshing
- Advanced capabilities and faster solvers
Meshing is one of the most important aspects of a simulation process and yet it can be one of the most frustrating and difficult to get right. Whether you are using CAD based simulation tools or more powerful flagship simulation tools, there are different approaches to take when it comes to meshing complicated assemblies for structural or thermal analysis.
ANSYS has grown into the biggest simulation company globally by acquiring powerful technologies, but more importantly, integrating their capabilities into a single platform. This is true for meshing as well. Many of ANSYS’ acquisitions have come with several strong meshing capabilities and functionalities and ANSYS Workbench integrates all of that into what we call Workbench Meshing. It is a single meshing tool that incorporates a variety of global and local mesh operations to ensure that the user not only gets a mesh, but gets a good quality mesh without needing to spend a lot of time in the prep process. We’ll take a look at a couple examples here.
This is a Tractor Axle assembly that has 58 parts including bolts, gaskets and flanges. The primary pieces of the assembly also has several holes and other curved surfaces. Taking this model into Workbench Meshing yielded a good mesh even with default settings. From here by simply adding a few sizing controls and mesh methods we quickly get a mesh that is excellent for structural analysis.
Tractor Axle Geometry
Tractor Axle Default Mesh
Tractor Axle Refined Mesh
The assembly below, which is a model from Grabcad of a riveting machine, was taken directly into Workbench Meshing and a mesh was created with no user input. As you can see the model has 5,282 parts of varying sizes, shapes and complexity. Again without needing to make any adjustments, Workbench Meshing is able to mesh this entire geometry with 6.6 million elements in only a few minutes on a laptop.
Riveting Machine Default Mesh
Riveting Machine Default Mesh
The summary of the meshing cases are shown below:
|Case||# of Parts||User Operations||# of Elements||# of Nodes||Time [s]|
|Tractor Axle Refined||58||5 Body Sizings
2 Local Mesh Methods
Characteristics of a robust meshing utility are:
- Easy to use with enough power under the hood
- Able to handle complex geometry and/or large number of parts
- Quick and easy user specified mesh operations
- Fast meshing time
ANSYS Meshing checks all of these boxes completely. It has a lot of power under the hood to handle large and/or complex geometry but makes it simple and easy for users to create a strong quality mesh for FEA analysis.
If you would like a more detailed step-by-step explanation of this process, check out the video below!
If you have any questions feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com
Credit to Manoj Abraham from Grabcad for Riveting Machine Model. And no I didn’t choose this model just because he shared my name
In my previous article, I wrote about how you get what you pay for with your analysis package. Well, buckle up for some more…but this time we’ll just focus on handling assemblies in your structural/thermal simulations. If all you’re working on are single components, count yourself lucky. Almost every simulation deals with one part interacting with another. You can simplify your boundary conditions a bit to make it equivalent, but if you have significant bearing stresses, misalignments, etc…you need to include the supporting parts. Better hope your analysis package can handle contact…
First off, contact isn’t just for structural simulations. Contact allows you to pass loads across difference meshes, meaning you don’t need to create a conformal mesh between two parts in order to simulate something. Here’s a quick listing on the degrees of freedom supported in ANSYS (don’t worry…you don’t need to know how to set these options as ANSYS does it for you when you’re in Workbench):
You can use contact for structural, thermal, electrical, porous domain, diffusion, or any combination of those. The rest of this article is going to focus on the structural side of things, but realize that the same concepts apply to essentially any analysis you can do within ANSYS Mechanical..
First, it’s incredibly easy to create contact in your assembly. Mechanical automatically looks for surfaces within a certain distance from one another and builds contact. You can further customize the automated process by defining your own connection groups, as I previous wrote about. These connection groups can create contact between faces, edges, solids bodies, shell bodies, and line bodies.
Second, not only can you create contact to transfer loads across different parts, but you can also automatically create joints to simulate linkages or ‘linearize’ complicated contacts (e.g. cylindrical-to-cylindrical contact for pin joints). With these joints you can also specify stops and locks to simulate other components not explicitly modeled. If you want to really model a threaded connection you can specify the pitch diameter and actually ‘turn’ your screw to properly develop the shear stress under the bolt head for a bolted joint simulation without actually needing to model the physical threads (this can also be done using contact geometry corrections)
If you’re *just* defining contact between two surfaces, there’s a lot you simulate. The default behavior is to bond the surfaces together, essentially weld them closed to transmit tensile and compressive loads. You also have the ability to let the surfaces move relative to each other by defining frictionless, frictional, rough (infinite coefficient of friction), or no-separation (surfaces don’t transmit shear load but will not separate).
Some other ‘fancy’ things you can do with contact is simulate delamination by specifying adhesive properties (type I, II, or III modes of failure). You can add a wear model to capture surface degradation due to normal stress and tangential velocity of your moving surfaces. You can simulate a critical bonding temperature by specifying at what temperature your contacts ‘stick’ together instead of slide. You can specify a ‘wetted’ contact region and see if the applied fluid pressure (not actually solving a CFD simulation, just applying a pressure to open areas of the contact interface) causes your seal to open up.
Now, it’s one thing to be able to simulate all of these behaviors. The reason you’re running a finite element simulation is you need to make some kind of engineering judgement. You need to know how the force/heat/etc transfers through your assembly. Within Mechanical you can easily look at the force for each contact pair by dragging/dropping the connection object (contact or joint) into the solution. This will automatically create a reaction probe to tell you the forces/moments going through that interface. You can create detailed contour plots of the contact status, pressure, sliding distance, gap, or penetration (depending on formulation used).
Again, you can generate all of that information for contact between surface-to-surface, surface-to-edge, or edge-to-edge. This allows you to use solids, shells, beams, or any combination you want, for any physics you want, to simulate essentially any real-world application. No need to buy additional modules, pay for special solvers, fight through meshing issues by trying to ‘fake’ an assembly through a conformal mesh. Just import the geometry, simplify as necessary (SpaceClaim is pretty awesome if you haven’t heard), and simulate it.)
For a more detailed, step-by-step look at the process, check out the following video!
Product innovation doesn’t always start with a blank sheet. Many times our customers need to begin with an accurate representation of their existing products, or a piece that theirs interfaces with, or even a competitive solutions. That is why we offer scanning and reverse engineering services that take real world parts and convert them into an accurate and useful CAD model.
What is Part Scanning
Part scanning is a process where we use machines to measure geometry. Before scanning someone would use rulers, calipers, and other measuring devices dating from the industrial revolution to get critical dimensions off of a part and painstakingly document what they find. That got better with Coordinate Measuring Machines (CMM) where you could accurately measure key locations on the geometry. The problem with this approach was that it only gave you data where you measured. Fine for simple parts like a flange with bolt holes. But not good when you have crazy free-form surfaces or many features. Another approach was to section the parts and project a shadow onto a piece of paper and trace it. If you needed more measurements, cost went way up.
To solve this problem, people found a way to measure lots of points easily: scan the part with some sort of optical sensor and measure points on the part as you go. Early scanning systems used lasers, measuring the beam that bounced back. This worked well, especially for very large objects. But was tricky on some surfaces and produced a lot of noise in the data. So researches figured out that they could project patterns of light and dark onto an object and measure how the edges of that pattern bent and warped. This is called Structured Light Scanning, and Wikipedia has a good article giving more details on how it works. We use the “blue light” version of this process here at PADT for our optical scanning services.
The other process we use is Cross Sectional Scanning. As the name implies it scans the cross section of parts, and it does it by actually shaving off material one layer at a time and then taking a picture of the 2D cross section that is revealed. Although you consume the part in the process, it is a very accurate and fairly affordable way to measure complex internal geometry.
What you get from both scanning approaches is what we call a point cloud. What is a point cloud? A file with millions of points defined as an X, Y, and Z position in space that represent locations that sit on the surfaces of the object. You can measure critical dimensions, compare different geometries, and use it as a basis to create a computer model. The key thing to note is that PADT uses precise scanners and leading software, combined with the experience of our operators to produce an accurate and usable point cloud.
For most projects, getting the point cloud is just the first step. In order for our customers to redesign, update, simulate, or interface with the part we scanned, they need an accurate computer model. Instead of millions of points, the computer model contains a more concise mathematical representation of the surface defined by the points. The simplest thing we can do is simply fit triangles through those points. This is refered to as a faceted model because it is made up of triangular facets. This data is used for 3D Printing, rendering, and for design in some cases. Most often we deliver an STL file for this type of model. If a more accurate representation is needed, our engineers can convert those facets into an actual Computer Aided Design (CAD) model. It can be just a dumb solid, or we can even make key features parametric. The geometry can be handed over in many different formats, including IGES, Paraolids, STEP, SolidWorks, SolidEdge, NX, or CREO.
How Part Scanning with PADT Different
To be blunt, the reason why we added scanning to our capabilities was that we had always outsourced this service for our customers. We found plenty of people with scanners, but they just scanned a part, ran the software, and provided OK data for our customers. The problem was they were not experts in the technology behind scanning, they lacked a theoretical understanding of math behind 3D computer geometry modeling, and they were not experts in product development. It turned out that scanning the geometry was the easy part, what our customers needed was someone who knew how to scan it right and produce useful information. Information they didn’t have to spend time cleaning and massaging. Our engineers combine all of these skills along with a firm understanding of quality requirements, GD&T, and most of the major CAD systems. In addition, PADT is ITAR compliant and can deal with your confidential geometry and data requirements. The fact that PADT is a recognized expert in Additive Manufacturing is often useful as well. We could not find a service provider that had all of the things our customers required, so we decided to do it ourselves.
Leveraging PADT’s Part Scanning and Reverse Engineering Services
Getting parts scanned by PADT is actually fairly easy. Step one is to contact PADT and talk to our engineers so they can produce a quote. Ideally it is best for you to bring the part or parts in to our Tempe office. If that is not feasible we will need some basic pictures of your part and key dimensions like maximum length, width, and height. They will then talk with you to understand what you actually want to accomplish by scanning. Armed with this information they will provide a quote for scanning and any geometry creation or other activities you need completed including cost, schedule, and a list of deliverables.
In most cases, you will ship us or drop off the part or parts, and our team will go to work. If needed, we can also come to where the parts are located and scan them there. The deliverables vary from job to job, and are negotiated as part of the quoting process. In general we will provide you with an STL or CAD file with the level of accuracy and detail that you ask for. If needed, we can also provide you with the point cloud itself. We can also complete inspection reports and provide comparisons between datasets.
Reach out to Give it a Try or Learn More
Our team is ready and waiting to answer your questions or provide you with a quote. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at 480.813.4884 or 1-800-293-PADT.
Still want to learn more? Here are some links to more information:
- Download or scanning brochure
- A more detailed blog post on scanning from early 2017, including a “Scanning 101” section with some great background on the technology
- The 3D Scanning Wikipedia article. This has lots of basic information as well as more links to greater details.
- Information on the Geomagic Capture Scanner, an easy to use, compact, and very portable blue light scanner that we use for a lot of projects.
- Details about the ZIESS Comet optical scanner, a professional and highly accurate blue light scanner that we use for our more demanding projects.
- An overview of Cross Sectional scanning.
- A brief summary of the Geomagic Software we use to create useful models from point clouds. It also has links to more in-depth information.
- An article in Additive Manufacturing magazine about how PADT used our scanners to create a replacement part for a P-51 Mustang airplane. It includes a great video as well.
Engineering simulation has become much more prevalent in engineering organizations than it was even 5 years ago. Commercial tools have gotten significantly easier to use whether you are looking at tools embedded within CAD programs or the standalone flagship analysis tools. The driving force behind these changes are to ultimately let engineers and companies understand their design quicker with more fidelity than before.
Engineering simulation is one of those cliché items where everyone says “We want more!” Engineers want to analyze bigger problems, more complex problems and even do large scale design of experiments with hundreds of design variations – and they want these results instantaneously. They want to be able to quickly understand their designs and design trends and be able to make changes accordingly so then can get their products optimized and to the market quicker.
ANSYS, Inc. spends a significant amount of R&D in helping customers get their results quicker and a large component of that development is High Performance Computing, or HPC. This technology allows engineers to solve their structural, fluid and/or electromagnetic analyses across multiple processors and even across multiple computing machines. Engineers can leverage HPC on laptops, workstations, clusters and even full data centers.
PADT is fortunate to be working with Nimbix, a High Performance Computing Platform that easily allowed us to quickly iterate through different models with various cores specified. It was seamless, easy to use, and FAST!
Let’s take a look at four problems: Rubber Seal FEA, Large Tractor Axle Model, Quadrocopter CFD model and a Large Exhaust CFD model. These problems cover a nice spectrum of analysis size and complexity. The CAD files are included in the link below.
TRACTOR AXLE FEA
This model has several parts all with contact defined and has 51 bolts that have pretension defined. A very large but not overly complex FEA problem. As you can see from the results, even by utilizing 8 cores you can triple your analysis throughput for a work day. This leads to more designs being analyzed and validated which gives engineers the results they need quicker.
- 58 Parts
- 51 x Bolts with Pretension
- 928K Elements, 1.6M Nodes
Estimated Models Per 8 [hours]
RUBBER SEAL FEA
The rubber seal is actually a relatively small size problem, but quite complex. Not only does it need full hyperelastic material properties defined with large strain effects included, it also includes a leakage test. This will pressurize any exposed areas of the seal. This will of course cause some deformation which will lead to more leaked surfaces and so on. It basically because a pressure advancing solution.
From the results, again you can see the number of models that can be analyzed in the same time frame is signifcantly more. This model was already under an hour, even with the large nonlinearity, and with HPC it was down to less than half an hour.
- 6 Parts
- Mooney Rivlin Hyperelastic Material
- Seal Leakage with Advancing Pressure Load
- Frictional Contact
- Large Deformation
- 42K Elements, 58K Nodes
|Estimated Models Per 8 [hours]|
QUADROCOPTER DRONE CFD
The drone model is a half symmetry model that includes 2 rotating domains to account for the propellers. This was ran as a steady state simulation using ANSYS Fluent. Simply utilizing 8 cores will let you solve 3 designs versus 1.
- Multiple Rotating Domains
- 2M Elements, 1.4M Nodes
The exhaust model is a huge model with 33 million elements with several complicated flow passages and turbulence. This is a model that would take over a week to run using 1 core but with HPC on a decent workstation you can get that down to 1 day. Leveraging more HPC hardware resources such as a cluster or using a cloud computing platform like Nimbix will see that drop to 3 hours. Imagine getting results that used to take over 1 week that now will only take a few hours. You’ll notice that this model scaled linearly up to 128 cores. In many CFD simulations the more hardware resources and HPC technology you throw at it, the faster it will run.
- K-omega SST Turbulence
- 33M Elements, 7M Nodes
As seen from the results leveraging HPC technology can be hugely advantageous. Many simulation tools out there do not fully leverage solving on multiple computing machines or even multiple cores. ANSYS does and the value is easily a given. HPC makes large complex simulation more practical as a part of the design process timeline. It allows for greater throughput of design investigations leading to better fidelity and more information to the engineer to develop an optimized part quicker.
If you’re interested in learning more about how ANSYS leverages HPC or if you’d like to know more about NIMIBX, the cloud computing platform that PADT leverages, please reach out to me at email@example.com
When Nathan Huber moved to Arizona from Colorado to join PADT he learned a lot, and one of the things he learned fast was that the inside of cars get very hot in the summer here. In fact, the shift knob on his car was untouchable in July. This coincided with his learning more about metal 3D Printing and an idea occurred, what about 3D Printing a metal shift knob designed to cool off faster, and that looked cool. Oh, and use ANSYS to drive the design.
He blogged about it before (here and here), and Additive Manufacturing online picked up the story and added to it on their blog post “3D Printing a Metal Shift Knob for Faster Cooling” Check it out, they did a nice job of explaining what we did and how Nathan used several of our tools like ANSYS Mechanical and our Concept Laser metal system to realize the design.
We are very pleased to announce the launch meeting of the newest New Mexico Technology Council peer group: 3D Printing. After the success of other peer groups, and a similar committee in the Arizona Technology Council, PADT is partnering with the NMTC to start a group focused on all things Additive Manufacturing, which is the more technical name for 3D Printing. Schools, businesses, and individuals who have any involvement or interest in this exciting and transformative technology will be able to network and organize to get greater value from 3D Printing. This includes understanding the technology, working together on research projects, and getting to know what services are available locally. It will also serve as a platform to coordinate the use of 3D printing in STEM education.
We will kick off the meeting with introductions around the room, then listen to Rey share his views on what is new and interesting in this industry, then talk about the peer group, answer questions, and start planning our next activities. At around 6:45 or so we will commence with the networking.
Please contact PADT at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions before the event. We hope to see you there.
Don’t forget to register, and please let anyone else you think might be interested know about the event.
One of my engineering idols is Clarence “Kelley” Johnson. He led the design of many of the coolest aircraft ever made, and he was a pioneer in managing large engineering projects. In “Remembering Kelley Johnson, aircraft design icon and project management superstar” I talk about why he was such an important figure in technology, and some rules he developed for effective project management. Even if you are not an airplane person, it is worth getting to know his work and his methods.
The ANSYS App Store contains all sorts of free and paid apps developed by ANSYS as well as trusted partners. These apps improve workflows and allow users to build in best practices. An app that has been of particular interest to me is Workbench Poly Meshing for Fluent.
This app enables the power and capacity of Fluent Meshing, most notably the polyhedral meshing feature, with the ease of use of the ANSYS Workbench Meshing environment. In order to show the functionality of this app, I will demonstrate with the generation of a polyhedral mesh on a sample geometry from the Fluent Meshing tutorials.
To start out, I have imported a .igs file of an exhaust manifold into ANSYS SpaceClaim Direct Modeler, which has powerful repair and prepare tools that will come in handy. I notice that the geometry is comprised of 250 surfaces, which I need to fix in order to create a solid body. By navigating into the ‘Repair’ tab and selecting the ‘Stitch’ operation, SpaceClaim notes there are two stitchable edges in my geometry. I select the green check mark to perform this operation and am greeted with a solid geometry. I complete my tasks in SpaceClaim by extracting the fluid volume using the ‘Volume Extract’ tool in the ‘Prepare’ tab.
I setup my workflow in ANSYS workbench with my added ‘Fluent Meshing’ ACT module between the ‘Mesh’ module and ‘Fluent’ module. I can then proceed to create my desired surface mesh in ANSYS meshing and setup a few required inputs for Fluent Meshing.
Once this process has been completed, I can update my ‘Fluent Meshing’ cell and open the ‘Fluent’ setup cell to display my polyhedral mesh!
IMPORTANT NOTE: all named selections must be lowercase with no spaces, and the file path(s) cannot contain any spaces.
It sounds counterintuitive, but it is one of those positions where you sometimes have take a different path to end up where you should. I “Why medical startups should not focus on patients” in order to in the end, deliver better products and better outcome to their patients. I’ve observed too many good ideas fail because the creators are not paying attention to the people who will pay for and deploy the solution.
Just like any other marketplace, there are a lot of options in simulation software. There are custom niche-codes for casting simulations to completely general purpose linear algebra solvers that allow you to write your own shape functions. Just like with most things in life, you truly get what you pay for.
For basic structural and thermal simulations pretty much any FE-package should suffice. The difference there will be in how easy it is to pre/post process the work and the support you receive from the vendor. How complicated is the geometry to mesh, how long does it take to solve, if you can utilize multiple cores how well does it scale, how easy is it to get reactions at interfaces/constraints…and so on. I could make this an article about all the productivity enhancements available within ANSYS, but instead I’ll talk about some of the more advanced functionalities that differentiate ANSYS from other software out there.
You can typically ignore radiation if there isn’t a big temperature gradient between surfaces (or ambient) and just model your system as conduction/convection cooled. Once that delta is large enough to require radiation to be modeled there are several degrees of numerical difficulty that need to be handled by the solver.
First, radiating to ambient is fairly basic but the heat transfer is now a function of T^4. The solver can also be sensitive to initial conditions since large DT results in a large heat transfer, which can then result in a large change in temperature from iteration to iteration. It’s helpful to be able to run the model transiently or as a quasi-static to allow the solver to allow some flexibility.
Next, once you introduce surface to surface radiation you now have to calculate view factors prior to starting the thermal solution. If you have multiple enclosures (surfaces that can’t see each other, or enclosed regions) hopefully there are some processes to simplify the view factor calculations (not wasting time calculating a ‘0’ for elements that can’t radiate to each other). The view factors can sometimes be sensitive to the mesh density, so being able to scale/modify those view factors can be extremely beneficial.
Lastly you run into the emissivity side of things. Is the emissivity factor a function of temperature? A function of wavelength? Do you need to account for absorption in the radiation domain?
Luckily ANSYS does all of this. ANSYS Mechanical allows you to easily define radiation to ambient or surface-to-surface. If you’re using symmetry in your model the full radiating surface will be captured automatically. You can define as many enclosures as possible, each with different emissivity factors (or emissivity vs Temperature). There are more advanced features that can help with calculating view factors (simplify the radiating surface representation, use more ray traces, etc) and there is functionality to save the calculated view factors for later simulations. ANSYS fluid products (CFX and Fluent) can also account for radiation and have the ability to capture frequency-based emissivity and participating media.
Automatic expansion of radiating surfaces across symmetry planes
Different enclosures to simplify view factor calculations
Long story short…you don’t have to know what the Stefan-Boltzman constant is if you want to include radiation in your model (bonus points if you do). You don’t have to mess with a lot of settings to get your model to run. Just insert radiation, select the surface, and run. Additional options and technical support is there if necessary.
I’d expect that any structural/thermal/fluids/magnetics code should be able to solve the basic fundamental equations for the environment it simulates. However, what happens when you need to combine physics, like a MEMs device. Or maybe you want to take some guess-work/assumptions out of how one physics loads another, like what the actual pressure load is from a CFD simulation on a structural model. Or maybe you want to capture the acoustic behavior of an electric motor, accounting for structural prestress/loads such as Joule heating and magnetic forces.
ANSYS allows you to couple multiple physics together, either using a single model or through data mapping between different meshes. Many of the data mapping routines allow for bi-directional data passing so the results can converge. So you can run an magnetic simulation on the holding force between a magnet and a plate, then capture the deflected shape due to an external load, and pass that deformed shape back to the magnetic simulation to capture the updated force (and repeat until converged).
If you have vendor-supplied data, or are using another tool to calculate some other results you can read in point cloud data and apply it to your model with minimal effort.
To make another long story short…you can remove assumptions and uncertainty by using ANSYS functionality.
- Advanced Material Models
Any simulation tool should be able to handle simple linear material models. But there are many different flavors of ‘nonlinear’ simulation. Does the stiffness change due to deflection/motion (like a fishing rod)? Are you working with ductile metals that experience plastic deformation? Does the stiffness change due to parts coming into/out-of contact? Are surfaces connected through some adhesive property that debonds under high loads? Are you working with elastomers that utilize some polynomial form hyper-elasic formulation? Are you working with shape memory alloys? Are you trying to simulate porous media through some geomechanical model? Are you trying to simulate a stochastic material variation failure in an impact/explosive simulation?
Large deflection stiffness calculations, plasticity, and contact status changes are easy in ANSYS. Debonding has been available since ANSYS 11 (reminder, we’re at release 18.0 now). ANSYS recently integrated some more advanced geomechanical models for dam/reservoir/etc simulations. The explicit solver allows you to introduce stochastic variation in material strengths for impact/explosive simulations.
ANSYS also has all the major flavors of hyper-elastic material models. You can choose from basic Neo-Hookean, Arruda-Boyce, Gent, all the way through multiple variations of Mooney-Rivlin, Yeoh, Ogden, and more. In addition to having these material models available (and the curve fitting routines to properly extract the constants from test data) ANSYS also has the ability to dynamically remesh a model. Most of the time when you’re analyzing the behavior of a hyperelastic part there is a lot of deformation, and what starts out as a well-shaped mesh can quickly turn into a bad mesh. Using adaptive meshing, you can have the solve automatically pause the solution, remesh the deformed shape, map the previous stress state onto the new nodes/elements, and continue with the solution. I should note that this nonlinear adaptive remesh is NOT just limited to hyperelastic simulations…it is just extremely helpful in these instances.
The ending of this story is pretty much the same as others. If you have a complicated material response that you’re trying to capture you can model it in ANSYS. If you already know how to characterize your material, just find the material model and enter the constants. We’ve worked with several customers in getting their material tested and properly characterized. So while most structural codes can do basic linear-elastic, and maybe some plastic…very few can capture all the material responses that ANSYS can.
I know I’ve already discussed multiple physics and advanced materials, but once you start making parts smaller you start to get coupling between physics that may not work well for vector-based coupling (passing load vectors/deformations from one mesh to another). Luckily ANSYS has a range of multi-physics elements that can solve use either weak or strong coupling to solve a host of piezo or MEM-related problems (static, transient, modal, harmonic). Some codes allow for this kind of coupling but either require you to write your own governing equations or pay for a bunch of modules to access.
If you have the ANSYS Enterprise-level license you can download a free extension that exposes all of these properties in the Mechanical GUI. No scripting, no compiling, just straight-up menu clicks.
Using this extension you can define the full complex piezoelectric matrix, couple it with an anisotropic elasticity matrix, and use frequency dependent losses to capture the actual response of your structure. Or if you want you can use simplified material definitions to get the best approximation possible (especially if you’re lacking a full material definition from your supplier).
Long story short…there are a lot of simulation products out there. Pretty much any of them should be able to handle the basics (single part, structural/thermal, etc). What differentiates the tools is in how easy it helps you implement more real-world conditions/physics into your analysis. Software can be expensive, and it’s important that you don’t paint yourself into a corner by using a single point-solution or low-end tool.
Artificial intelligence has been a Science Fiction staple for decades, and has been the focus of much marketing hype more recently. While all this was going on however, AI sort of happened. It is here, it is part of our every day, and “Are you ready for artificial intelligence to change your business?” This is one of those fundamental technology shifts that impacts everything, and smart business will understand and adapt.
People talk about automation, mostly with respecte to manufacturing, like it is something that is comming. But “Automation is here and we need to pay attention.” If you don’t understand how computer software, robotics, and sensors are changing every aspect of our lives, odds are you will miss how it will change your business.