By now you’ve probably heard that ANSYS versions 18.0, 18.1, and 18.2 have all been released in 2017. While 18.0 was the ‘point’ release in January, it should be noted that 18.1 and 18.2 are not ‘patches’ or service packs, but are full releases each with significant enhancements to the code. We’ll present some significant and useful enhancements for each.
Number 1: First and foremost – info on the new features is more readily accessible with the Mechanical Highlights list. The first time you launch Mechanical, you’ll see a hyperlinked list of new release highlights.
One you actually do something in Mechanical, though, that list goes away. There is a simple way to get it back: Click on the Project branch in the Mechanical tree, then click on the Worksheet button in the menu near the top of the window.
Clicking on the hyperlinks in the list or simply scrolling down gives us more information on each of the listed enhancements. Keep in mind the list is only highlights and by no means has all of the new features listed. A more detailed list can be found in the ANSYS Help, in the Release Notes.
Number 2: A major new feature that became available in 18.0 is Topology Optimization. We’ve written more about Topology Optimization here
Number 3: Another really useful enhancement in 18.0 is the ability to define a beam connection as a pretensioned bolt. This means we no longer need to have a geometry representation of a bolt if we want a simpler model. We can simply insert a beam connection between the two sides of the bolted geometry, and define the pretension on that resulting beam.
Beam connections are inserted in the Connections branch in Mechanical. Once the beam is fully defined, it can have a bolt pretension load applied to it, just like as if the beam geometry was defined as a solid or beam in your geometry tool. Here you can see a beam connection used for bolt pretension on the left, with a traditional geometric representation of a pretensioned bolt on the right:
Number 4: A very nice capability added in version 18.1 is drag and drop contact regions for contact sizing in the Mesh branch. Contact elements work best when the element sizes on both sizes of the interface are similar, especially for nonlinear contact. ANSYS Mechanical has had Contact Sizing available as a mesh control for a long time. Contact Sizing allows us to specify an element size or relevance level once, for both sides of one or more contact regions.
What’s new in 18.1 is the ability to drag and drop selected contacts from the Connections branch into the Mesh branch. Just select the desired contact regions with the mouse, then drag that selection into the Mesh branch. Then specify the desired mesh sizing controls for contact.
This is what the dragging and dropping looks like:
After dropping into the Mesh branch, we can specify the element size for the contact regions:
This shows the effect of the contact sizing specification on the mesh:
Number 5: An awesome new feature in 18.2 is element face selection, and what you can do with it. There is a new selection filter just for element face selection, shown here in the red box:
Once the element face select button is clicked, element faces can be individually selected, box selected, or paint selected simply by holding down the left mouse button and dragging. The green element faces on the near side have been selected this way:
The selected faces can then be converted to a Named Selection, or items such as results plots can be scoped to the face selection:
Number 6: Finally, to finish up, some new hotkeys were added in 18.2. Two really handy ones are:
Z = zoom fit or zoom to the current selection of entities
<Ctrl> K = activate element face selection
F11 = make the graphics window full screen!
Click F11 again to toggle back to normal size
Please realize that this list is just a tiny subset of the new features in ANSYS 18. We encourage you to try them out on your own, and investigate others that may be of benefit to you. Keep the Mechanical Highlights list from Number 1 in mind as a good source for info on new capabilities.
Yesterday ANSYS, Inc. did a webinar about a technology that was going to “Change the way simulation is done.” If you have been around the world of FEA and CFD for the 30+ years I have you have heard that statement before. And rarely does the actual product change match the hype. Not true for ANSYS Discovery Live. If anything, I think they are holding back. This is disruptive, this is a tool that will change how people do simulation. In this post I’ll share my thoughts on what it is and why I think it is so transformative, and then in the second half (go ahead, if you don’t want to listen to me go on and on about how much I like this tool, skip ahead) there are some tips on how to get your hands on it to see for yourself.
What is ANSYS Discovery Live?
ANSYS Discovery Live is a new multiple physics simulation platform that combines several key ingredients to produce a software tool that engineers can use to do almost instantaneous virtual prototypes of the behavior of their designs directly from their solid models. The developers at ANSYS, Inc. have combined their knowledge of advanced solver technology, making solvers parallel for Graphical Processor Units (GPUs, high-end graphics cards), direct solid modeling (SpaceClaim), and some advanced stuff on the discretization side I don’t think I can talk about. All of those things embedded inside SpaceClaim make ANSYS Discovery Live.
Once you have a solid model in the tool, you simply define what physics you want to solve and some boundary conditions, then it solves. In almost real time. Right there in front of you. The equivalent steps of meshing, building the model, solving it, extracting results, and displaying the results are done automatically. It may iterate a few times to converge on a solution, but in a few seconds, you will have a good enough answer to give you insight into your design.
And that is the key point. This is not a replacement for ANSYS Mechanical, FLUENT, or HFSS. It is a tool for exploring your designs and gaining insight into their behavior. It allows the design engineer, with very little training or expertise, to exercise their design and see what happens.
The product lives inside ANSYS Spaceclaim and can be installed on its own. It runs on Windows and requires a NVidia graphics card with a newer GPU (see below for more on that). Right now the product is in pre-release mode and anyone, yes anyone, can go to www.ansys.com/discovery and download it and try it out. And please, share your feedback. Expect the product to be released in the first quarter of 2018. Pricing and bundling have not been firmed up yet, but from what we have seen the plans are reasonable and make sense.
Why is it Unique in the Industry?
Some of the first comments I saw on social media about ANSYS Discovery Live after the webinar were that it is not a unique tool. There are other GPU based solvers out there. That is true. But even though those tools are super fast at solving, they have not been widely adopted. The ANSYS product is unique because it: 1) combines GPU based solvers for multiple physics and 2) is built into a fully functioning solid modeling tools. A third might be that it is also an ANSYS product, which means it will be backed technically and supported well.
Why I think that the Simple Fact that it Exists is Important?
During an interview for a magazine article about innovation in product development this week I was asked what is keeping innovation from happening more often. My answer was that most companies with the resources, both money and people, to innovate are choosing to acquire rather than innovate internally. They let others raise money, take all the risk, work out all the problems, deal with all the issues of trying to make something new. And then when they succeed, they buy them. There is nothing morally wrong with that approach, it is just inefficient and inaccurate. Every innovation has to not only survive its technical challenges, it has to survive being a startup.
What ANSYS, Inc. has done is the opposite. They could have purchased a GPU based solver startup and checked the box. But instead, they took people from different business units, several that were acquired, and put them together and said: “innovate… but make it something very useful.” And they did. The fact that they executed on the logistics of a new product that used new and old technology across physics and across software development realms, is fantastic. It makes me feel good about ANSYS, Inc’s true dedication to improving their products.
How will it Change Simulation?
In my career, I have had the same conversation dozens of times “Let me go out to the lab and tinker with it, I’ll figure out what is going on.” That is the way you had to explore your product to get a “feel” for what is going on. Simulation took too long and you became so wrapped up in the process of building and running a model that you could not really explore the behavior of your product. Now we can.
ANSYS Discovery Live is called Discovery Live not because anyone at ANSYS is a marketing genius (sorry guys…) but because that is what it lets you do. Discover the behavior of your product live. You simply play with it and see what happens. And this will change simulation because we know can move from verification or optimization to simply experimenting and gaining a deeper understanding, early in the design process. We will still do what is now I guess called traditional simulation. We will need more accuracy, more complex physics, loads, and behavior. But early on we can learn so much by virtually experimenting.
Is it the Perfect Tool Right out of the Box?
This is not a perfect-does-everything tool. First off, it is a pre-release. The basic functionality to make it useful is there. More than I thought would be available in a first release. But there are limitations because it is new, or because of the approach. It is not as accurate as more traditional approaches. The way it works takes some shortcuts on geometry and can’t include some behaviors. This should improve over time but it will never be accurate as more time-consuming approaches that simply have more functionality.
Over the next two to three years we will see it mature and add functionality and accuracy. The GPU’s the tool depends on will offer more performance for less money as well. This is a journey, but right now everyone I have talked to who has actually played with the pre-release is very happy with the functionality and accuracy that is there now. Because it is sufficient to do the experimentation and exploration it was designed to allow.
How do you Try it Out?
ANSYS, Inc. realized that this type of tool demos so well, and is so different, that a skeptical group of engineers will not accept what they see in a webinar as accurate. So they have made the pre-release available for use. You can download it and install it, or explore with it in the cloud through your browser.
To get started, go to www.ansys.com/discovery and look around. The videos are awesome! When you are ready to try it out, click on Download Now. Fill out the form. Don’t complain. Yes you will get a few emails and a salesperson (gasp!) may call you. It’s worth some emails and maybe a phone call.
Set yourself up there. There is a verification code step and once you put that in and create your login, you have to click on some legal agreements, including export controls. Save your login info, you will need it to get back in.
After that either start the download or the Cloud Trial Option. The cloud trial didn’t work for me, read below how I got to that function.
If you chose download it will download a big Zip File, over 1 GB. It is a full solid modeler and CFD/Structural/Thermal solver… so it is big.
Once it is there, unzip, and run Setup.exe. follow the steps and you will be there.
If you don’t have a graphics card that will run this, then use the cloud demo. Like I said above, the button didn’t work for me. If you have that problem or you want to use it after your first login, go to:
Scroll down a bit and find the “Cloud Trial” post. That one takes you to the page where you can find a server near you to try things out on. It’s pretty slick.
If you need to get back here, use https://discoveryforum.ansys.com/ and log in with the email and password you gave at registration,
Here is a PDF Guide with even more details and a quick start.
The only sticky bit about this whole thing is that it run a subset of Nvidia graphics cards. So you have to have one of those cards. According to the information in the forum:
ANSYS Discovery Live relies on the latest GPU technology to provide its computation and visual experience. To run the software, you will require:
– A dedicated NVIDIA GPU card based on the Kepler, Maxwell or Pascal architecture. Most dedicated NVIDIA GPU cards produced in 2013 or later will be based on one of these architectures. – At least 4GB of video RAM (8GB preferred) on the GPU.
Also, please ensure you have the latest driver for your graphics card, available from NVIDIA Driver Downloads. You can also refer to the post on Graphics Performance Benchmarks. Performance of Discovery Live is less dependent on machine CPU and RAM. A recent generation 64-bit CPU running Windows, and at least 4GB of RAM will be sufficient. If you do not have a graphics card that meets these specifications, the software will not run. However, you can try ANSYS Discovery Live through an online cloud-based trial, which requires only an internet browser and a reasonably fast internet connection.
I didn’t know if my GPU on my laptop would work, so I went to https://www.techpowerup.com and put in my card model (nvidia m500m) and it told me it was Maxwell technology.
Go Forth and Discover, and Share
Don’t hesitate, download this and try it out. Even if you are a high-end combustion simulation expert that will never need it, if you are interested in Simulation you should still try it out. Use the forum to share your thoughts and questions. The gallery is already filling up with some fantastic real world examples.
Simulation software enables product development engineers to gain insights that were previously possible only through making and breaking expensive prototypes. However, such software isn’t for every engineer. It can be difficult to learn and master, and often simulation results take time to set up and calculate. But what if simulation could be faster and easier?
With its Discovery Live technology, ANSYS revolutionizes product design.
This simulation software provides instantaneous simulation results while you design and edit and enables you to experiment with design ideas for on-the-spot feedback. These immediate insights make simulation useful and relevant to every engineer for upfront CAE. Discovery Live’s speed and simplicity represents a quantum leap forward in simulation technology, and it enables you to spend more time with answers instead of questions.
With Discovery Live, you can:
Experiment with design ideas, easily make changes
and receive instantaneous engineering insights
Perform 10 to 1,000 simulations in the same timeframe that was once needed to perform just one simple simulation
Simulate on newly created models or any imported CAD file
Investigate more options earlier in the design process and develop new products that get to market faster
Explore all your “what if” design ideas at little to no cost in time and effort
Facilitate breakthroughs and innovations and take your engineering efforts to the next level
As Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) remains one of the most flexible and accurate tools for developing solutions involving fluid flows in a variety of industries, it is important of engineers to stay up to date on the software that makes it all possible: ANSYS.
Thanks to the latest version ANSYS Fluent, engineers now more than ever, can generate unexpected insights and additional value, helping to greatly improve the effectiveness of their product development process.
Join PADT’s CFD Team Lead Engineer, Clinton Smith, for a live webinar, covering the various improvements and enhancements made to the Fluent tool in ANSYS 18.2.
By attending this webinar, you will learn how Fluent 18.2 can help users to:
Define a scalar transport equations to improve results for chemical species
Visualize injection position and orentation during model setup
Accurately predict cavitation in high pressure devices with non-condensable gases
And much more!
Don’t miss your chance to attend this upcoming event,
click below to secure your spot today!
If this is your first time registering for one of our Bright Talk webinars, simply click the link and fill out the attached form. We promise that the information you provide will only be shared with those promoting the event (PADT).
You will only have to do this once! For all future webinars, you can simply click the link, add the reminder to your calendar and you’re good to go!
High Performance Computing (HPC) has proven to be critical for simulation tools like ANSYS thanks to its ability to help engineers perform a wider range of analyses faster than ever before.
PADT is proud to be working with Nimbix, the creators of an award winning HPC platform developed for enterprises and end users who demand performance and ease of use in their process.
Check out the following recording of our co-hosted webinar, with Nimbix Application & Sales Engineer Adil Noor, and PADT’s Lead Application Engineer, Manoj Mahendran, discussing the benefits of leveraging HPC and Cloud Computing for simulation, along with a look at how PADT has deployed ANSYS on the Nimbix platform.
So this is just a quick post to point out a handy feature in ANSYS Workbench, the ACT Console. There are times when you want some functionality in Mechanical that just is not yet there. In this example, a customer wanted the ability to get a text list of all the Named Selections in his model. A quick Python script does just that.
a=ExtAPI.DataModel.AnalysisList #Get the first Analysis if multiple are present
#Put the output file in the "user_files" directory for the project.
#Use the name of the system in case the snippet is
#used on multiple independent systems in the project.
model = ExtAPI.DataModel.Project.Model
nsels = model.NamedSelections #Get the list of Named Selections
if nsels: #Do this if there are any Named Selections
for child in nsels.Children:
So to use a piece of Python code, like this, we use the ACT Console in Mechanical. To access the ACT Console in Mechanical 17.0, or later, just hit this icon in the toolbar.
The Console allows you to type, or paste, text directly into the black command line at the bottom. But if we are going to reuse this code, then the use of Snippets is the way to go. In R17.0 they were called ‘Bookmarks’, but they worked the same way.
When you add a Snippet, a new window allows you to name the snippet and type in, or paste in, your code.
When you hit Apply, your named snippet is added to the list
From then on, to use the snippet you just click on it, and hit ‘Enter’. The text is basically, repasted into the command window, so you can set any variables needed prior to hitting your snippet.
The snippets are persistent and remain in the console, so they are available for all new projects. Using snippets is a great way to reduce time for repetitive tasks, without having to create a full blown ACT extension.
This is the fourth installment in our review of all the different products and services PADT offers our customers. As we add more, they will be available here. As always, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at 1-800-293-PADT.
The A in PADT actually stands for Analysis. Back in 1994 when the company was started, computer modeling for mechanical engineering was called Analysis. It was such an important part of what we wanted to achieve that we put it in the name. Unfortunately, Analysis was a bit to generic so the industry switched to Numerical Simulation, or simply simulation. In the 23 years since we started, analysis… sorry, simulation, has been not just a foundation for what PADT does for our customers, it has become a defacto tool in product development. Through it all there has been a dedicated group here that is focused on providing the best simulation as a service to customers around the world.
Driving Designs with Simulation
Many companies know about PADT with regards to simulation because we are an ANSYS Elite Channel Partner – selling and supporting the entire suite of ANSYS simulation tools in the Southwestern US. The success of simulation in the design and development of physical products is a direct result of the fact that these fantastic tools from ANSYS can be used to drive the design of products. This can be done in-house by companies designing the products, or outsourced to experts. And that is where PADT has come in for hundreds of customers around the world. The expertise we use to support and train on ANSYS products derives directly from our real world experience providing CFD, structural, thermal, electromagnetic, and multiphysics simulations to help those customers drive their product development.
For those not familiar with simulation, or who only use the basic tools embedded in CAD software as a quick check, understanding why it is so important hinges on understand what it really is. Numerical Simulation is a methodology where a physical product is converted into a computer model that represents its physical behavior. This behavior can be many different physics: stresses, vibration, fluid flow, temperature flow, high frequency electromagnetic radiation, sloshing of liquids, deformation during impact, piezoelectric response, heating from static electromagnetic waves, cooling from air flow. The list goes on and on. Pretty much anything you studied in physics can be modeled using a numerical simulation.
The process of doing the simulation consists of taking the physical object and breaking it into discrete chunks, often very small relative to the size of the object, so that equations can easily be written for each chunk that describes the physical behavior of that chunk relative to the chunks around it. Imagine writing equations for the fluid flow in a complicated valve housing, very hard to do. But if you break it up into about one million small polyhedrons, you can write an equation for flow in and out of each polyhedron. These equations are then assembled into a giant matrix and solved using linear algebra. That is why we need such large computers. We mostly use the world’s leading software for this, from ANSYS, Inc.
More than Building and Running Models
Knowing how to build and run finite element and CFD models is key to providing simulation as a service. PADT’s team averages over 18 years of experience and few people come close to their knowledge on geometry preparation, meshing, setting up loads and boundary conditions, leveraging the advantages of each solver, and post processing. That is a good starting point. But what really sets PADT apart is the understanding of how the simulation fits into product development, and how the information gathered from simulation can and should be used. Instead of providing a number or a plot, PADT’s experienced engineers deliver insight into the behavior of the products being simulated.
How each project is conducted is also something that customers keep coming back for. Nothing is ever “thrown over the wall” our passed through a “black box.” From quote through delivery of final report, PADT’s engineers work closely with the customer’s engineers to understand requirements, get to the heart of what the customer is looking for, and deliver useful and actionable information. And if you have your own in-house simulation team, we will work closely with them to help them understand what we did so they can add it to their capabilities. In fact, one of the most popular simulation services offered by PADT is automation of the simulation process with software tools written on top of ANSYS products. This is a fantastic way to leverage PADT’s experience and knowledge to make your engineers more efficient and capable.
Unparalleled Breadth and Depth
Based on feedback from our customers, the other area where PADT really stands out is in the incredible breadth and depth of capability offered. Whereas most service providers specialize in one type of simulation or a single industry, more than twenty years of delivering high-end simulation to evaluate hundreds of products has given PADT’s team a unique and special level of understanding and expertise. From fluid flow in aerospace cooling systems to electromagnetics for an antenna in a smart toy, a strong theoretical understanding is combined with knowledge about the software tools to apply the right approach to each unique problem.
No where is this breadth and depth exemplified than with PADT’s relationship with ANSYS, Inc. Since the company was founded, PADT engineers have worked closely with ANSYS development and product management to understand these powerful tools better and to offer their advice on how to make them better. And each time ANSYS, Inc. develops or acquires a new capability, that same team steps up and digs deep into the functionality that has been added. And when necessary, adding new engineers to the team to offer our customers the same expert access to these new tools.
The best way to understand why hundreds of companies, many of them large corporations that are leaders in their industry, come to PADT from around the world for their simulation services needs is to talk to us about your simulation services needs. Regardless of the industry or the physics, our team is ready to help you drive your product development with simulation. Contact us now to start the discussion.
Here in the Phoenix area, we weren’t treated to the full total eclipse that others in the USA got to see. Our maximum coverage of the sun was a bit over 60%. Still, there was an eclipse buzz in the PADT headquarters and although we had some rare clouds for a few minutes, the skies did part and we did get to view the partial eclipse from the parking lot.
So, how did ANSYS help us view the eclipse? It was in an indirect way – via a pinhole camera I made from an old ANSYS installation software box. The software box, a hobby knife to cut out a viewing port, a couple of post-it notes to allow for a small hole and a clear projection area, and a thumb tack were all that was needed, along with a couple of minutes to modify the box.
Here we can see the viewing port cut into the software box. On the opposite side is a pin hole to allow the sun’s light to enter the box.
After heading out to the eclipsing grounds (the parking lot), we quickly lined up the pin hole and the projection screen and got our views of the partially obscured sun:
Here is a close up of the sun’s image projected inside the box:
Others viewing the eclipse here at PADT HQ had a range of filters, eclipse glasses, etc. With the projection method as shown above, though, we don’t have to worry about eye damage. So, in a way, ANSYS did help us view the eclipse safely, by providing a box that was easy to convert to a pinhole camera.
While we enjoyed the partial eclipse here in Arizona, we did have a couple of PADT colleagues in the path of totality. Here is a picture from one of my coworkers who viewed the eclipse in South Carolina:
We hope you enjoyed the eclipse as well, either in person or via images on the web. We’re looking forward to the next one!
Finally, In case you missed an earlier astronomical rarity back in 2012, here is a photo of the planet Venus transiting in front of the sun’s disk (black dot on the left side). The next one of these won’t be until December, 2117.
Simulation has become even more prevalent in the world of engineering 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 and with more fidelity than before.
High Performance Computing (HPC) has proven to be critical for simulation tools like ANSYS thanks to its ability to help engineers perform a wider range of analyses faster than ever before. PADT is proud to be working with Nimbix, the creators of an award winning HPC platform developed for enterprises and end users who demand performance and ease of use in their process.
Join Nimbix Application & Sales Engineer Adil Noor, and PADT’s Lead Application Engineer, Manoj Mahendran, for a discussion on the benefits of leveraging HPC and Cloud Computing for simulation, along with a look at how PADT has deployed ANSYS on the Nimbix platform.
From this webinar you will learn about:
The benefits of using Cloud Computing
The capabilities of HPC with ANSYS
The advantages Nimbix provides and why PADT leverages them for HPC
This webinar will be taking place on:
Wednesday August 23rd, from 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM MST
Don’t miss this opportunity, register and secure your place today!
We’ve discussed topological optimization in this space before, notably here:
If you’re not familiar with topological or topology optimization, a simple description is that we are using the physics of the problem combined with the finite element computational method to decide what the optimal shape is for a given design space and set of loads and constraints. Typically our goal is to maximize stiffness while reducing weight. We may also be trying to keep maximum stress below a certain value. Frequencies can come into play as well by linking a modal analysis to a topology optimization.
Why is topology optimization important? First, it produces shapes which may be more optimal than we could determine by engineering intuition coupled with trial and error. Second, with the rise of additive manufacturing, it is now much easier and more practical to produce the often complex and organic looking shapes which come out of a topological optimization.
ANSYS, Inc. has really upped the game when it comes to utilizing topology optimization. Starting with version 18.0, topo opt is built in functionality within ANSYS. If you already know ANSYS Mechanical, you already know the tool that’s used. The ANSYS capability uses the proven ANSYS solvers, including HPC capability for efficient solves. Another huge plus is the fact that SpaceClaim is linked right in to the process, allowing us to much more easily make the optimized mesh shape produced by a topological optimization into a more CAD representation set for use in validation simulations, 3D printing, or traditional manufacturing.
The intent of this blog is to show the current process in ANSYS version 18.1 using a simple example of an idealized motorcycle front fork bracket optimization. We don’t claim to be experts on motorcycle design, but we do want to showcase what the technology can do with a simple example. We start with a ‘blob’ or envelope for the geometry of our design space, then perform an optimization based on an assumed set of loads the system will experience. Next we convert the optimized mesh information into solid geometry using ANSYS SpaceClaim, and then perform a validation study on the optimized geometry.
Here we show our starting point – an idealized motorcycle fork with a fairly large blob of geometry. The intent is to let ANSYS come up with an optimal shape for the bracket connecting the two sides of the fork.
The first step of the simulation in this case is a traditional Static Structural simulation within ANSYS Workbench. The starting point for the geometry was ANSYS SpaceClaim, but the initial geometry could have come from any geometry source that ANSYS can read in, meaning most CAD systems as well as Parasolid, SAT, and STEP neutral file formats.
A single set of loads can be used, or multiple load cases can be defined. That’s what we did here, to simulate various sets of loads that the fork assembly might experience during optimization. All or a portion of the load cases can be utilized in the topological optimization, and weighting factors can be used on each set of loads if needed.
Here we see the workflow in the ANSYS Workbench Project Schematic:
Block A is the standard static structural analysis on the original, starting geometry. This includes all load cases needed to describe the operating environment. Block B is the actual topological optimization. Block C is a validation study, performed on the optimized geometry. This step is needed to ensure that the optimized shape still meets our design intent.
Within the topology optimization, we set our objective. He we choose minimizing compliance, which is a standard terminology in topology optimization and we can think of it as the inverse which is maximizing stiffness.
In the static structural analysis, 7 load cases were used to describe different loading situations on the motorcycle fork, and here all have been used in the optimization.
Further, we defined a response constraint, which in this example is to reduce mass (actually retain 15% of the mass):
Another quantity that’s often useful to specify is a minimum member constraint. That will keep the topology optimization from making regions that are too small to 3D print or otherwise manufacture. Here we have specified a minimum member size of 0.3 inches:
Since the topological optimization solution uses the same ANSYS solvers for the finite element solution as a normal solution, we can leverage high performance computing (distributed solvers, typically) to speed up the solution process. Multiple iterations are needed to converge on the topology optimization, so realize that the topo opt process is going to be more computationally expensive than a normal solution.
Once the optimization is complete, we can view the shape the topo opt method has obtained:
Notice that only a portion of the original model has been affected. ANSYS allows us to specify which regions of the model are to be considered for optimization, and which are to be excluded.
Now that we have a shape that looks promising, we still need to perform a validation step, in which we rerun our static simulation with the loads and constraints we expect the fork assembly to experience. To do that, we really want a ‘CAD’ model of the optimized shape. The images shown above show the mesh information that results from the topo opt solution. What we need to do next is leverage the ANSYS SpaceClaim geometry tool to create a solid model from the optimized shape.
A simple beauty in the ANSYS process is that with just a couple of clicks we proceed from Block B to Block C in the Workbench project schematic, and can then work with the optimized shape in SpaceClaim.
As you can see in the above image, SpaceClaim automatically has the original geometry as well as the new, optimized shape. We can do as much or as little to the optimized shape as we need, from smoothing and simplification to adding manufacturing features such as holes, bosses, etc. In this case we simply shrink wrapped it as-is.
Continuing with the validation step, the geometry from SpaceClaim automatically opens in the Mechanical window and we can then re-apply the needed loads and constraints and then solve to determine if the optimized shape truly meets our design objectives. If not, we can make some tweaks and run again.
The above image shows a result plot from the validation step. The geometry efficiently comes through SpaceClaim from the optimization step to the validation step. The needed tools are all nicely contained within ANSYS.
Hopefully this has given you an idea of what can be done with topology optimization in ANSYS as well as how it’s done. Again, if you already know ANSYS Mechanical, you already know the bulk of how to do this. If not, then perhaps what you have seen here will spark a craving to learn. We can’t wait to see what you create.
PADT recently hosted the Aerospace & Defence Form, Arizona Chapter for a talk and a tour. The talk was on “Additive Manufacturing & Simulation Driven Design, A Competitive Edge in Aerospace” and it was very well received. So well in fact, that we decided it would be good to go ahead and record it and share it. So here it is:
Aerospace engineering has changed in the past decades and the tools and process that are used need to change as well. In this presentation we talk about how Simulation and 3D Printing can be used across the product development process to gain a competitive advantage. In this webinar PADT shares our experience in apply both critical technologies to aerospace. We talk about what has changed in the industry and why Simulation and Additive Manufacturing are so important to meeting the new challenges. We then go through five trends in each industry and keys to being successful with each trend.
If you are looking to implement 3D Printing (Additive Manufacturing) or any type of simulation for Aerospace, please contact us (email@example.com) so we can work to understand your needs and help you find the right solutions.
This video will show you how you can set up a two-way connection between Solidworks and ANSYS HFSS so you can modify dimensions as you are iterating through designs from within HFSS itself. This prevents the need for creating several different CAD model iterations within Solidworks and allows a more seamless workflow. Note that this process also works for the other ANSYS Electromagnetic tools such as ANSYS Maxwell.
One of the tough challenges in creating meshes for CFD simulations is the requirement to create a mesh that works with very different geometry. With Overset meshing you can create the ideal mesh for each piece of geometry in your model, and let them overlap where they touch and the program handles the calculations at those boundaries. All of this is handled simply in the ANSYS Workbench interface and then combined in ANSYS FLUENT.
One of the more common questions we get on thermal expansion simulations in tech support for ANSYS Mechanical and ANSYS Mechanical APDL revolve around how the Coefficient of Thermal Expansion, or CTE. This comes in to play if the CTE of the material you are modeling is set up to change with the temperature of that material.
This detailed presentation goes in to explaining what the differences are between the Secant and Instantaneous methods, how to convert between them, and dealing with extrapolating coeficients beyond temperatures for which you have data.
Researchers and students at universities around the world are tackling difficult engineering and science problems, and they are turning to simulation more and more to get to understanding and solutions faster. Just like industry. And just like industry they are finding that ANSYS provides the most comprehensive and powerful solution for simulation. The ANSYS suite of tools deliver breadth and depth along with ease of use for every level of expertise, from Freshman to world-leading research professors. The problem in the past was that academia operates differently from industry, so getting to the right tools was a bit difficult from a lot of perspectives.
Now, with the ANSYS Academic program, barriers of price, licensing, and access are gone and ANSYS tools can provide the same benefits to college campuses that they do to businesses around the world. And these are not stripped down tools, all of the functionality is there.
Students – Free
Yes, free. Students can download ANSYS AIM Student or ANSYS Student under a twelve month license. The only limitation is on problem size. To make it easy, you can go here and download the package you need. ANSYS AIM is a new user interface for structural, thermal, electromagnetic, and fluid flow simulation oriented towards the new or occasional user. ANSYS Student is a size limited bundle of the full ANSYS Mechanical, ANSYS CFD, ANSYS Autodyn, ANSYS SpaceClaim, and ANSYS DesignXplorer packages.
That is pretty much it. If you need ANSYS for a class or just to learn how to use the most common simulation package in industry, download it for free.
Academic Institutions – Discounted Packages
If you need access to full problem sizes or you want to use ANSYS products for your research, there are several Academic Packages that offer multiple seats of full products at discounted prices. These products are grouped by application:
Structural-Fluid Dynamics Academic Products — Bundles that offer structural mechanics, explicit dynamics, fluid dynamics and thermal simulation capabilities. These bundles also include ANSYS Workbench, relevant CAD import tools, solid modeling and meshing, and High Performance Computing (HPC) capability.
Electronics Academic Products — Bundles that offer high-frequency, signal integrity, RF, microwave, millimeter-wave device and other electronic engineering simulation capabilities. These bundles include product such as ANSYS HFSS, ANSYS Q3D Extractor,ANSYS SIwave, ANSYS Maxwell, ANSYS Simplorer Advanced. The bundles also include HPC and import/connectivity to many common MCAD and ECAD tools.
Embedded Software Academic Products — Bundles of our SCADE products that offer a model-based development environment for embedded software.
Multiphysics Campus Solutions— Large task count bundles of Research & Teaching products from all three of the above categories intended for larger-scale deployment across a campus, or multiple campuses.
You can see what capabilities are included in each package by downloading the product feature table. These are fully functional products with no limits on size. What is different is how you are authorized to use the tool. The Academic licence restricts use to teaching and research. Because of this, ANSYS is able to provide academic product licenses at significantly reduced cost compared to the commercial licenses — which helps organizations around the globe to meet their academic budget requirements. Support is also included through the online academic resources like training as well as access to the ANSYS Customer Portal.
There are many options on price and bundling based upon need and other variables, so you will need to contact PADT or ANSYS to help sort it all out and find the right fit for your organization.
What does all this mean? It means that every engineer graduating from their school of choice should enter the workforce knowing how to use ANSYS Products, something that employers value. It also means that researchers can now produce more valuable information in less time for less money because they leverage the power of ANSYS simulation.The barriers are down, as students and institutions, you just need to take advantage of it.