2D Simplification in SOLIDWORKS Simulation

   By Suman Sudhakaren on February 3, 2023

2D Simplification option in SOLIDWORKS Simulation is available when defining static linear, nonlinear, thermal, pressure vessel and design studies on qualifying 3D models. These are special types of analysis studies that take advantage of axisymmetry (geometry, material properties, fixtures, loads, and contact conditions all have the same axis of symmetry) condition of the 3D model or of the fact that a 3D model analysis could be represented in a 2D plane (part of long extrusion). This option reduces the problem size and saves analysis time because fewer mesh elements and simpler contact interaction conditions are involved compared to the full 3D model.

The simplification options available are Plane Stress, Plane Strain, Extruded (for Thermal analysis) and Axisymmetric. Users will select an appropriate option depending upon the geometry and boundary condition assumptions valid for their specific 3D model and analysis objectives.

Examples of Plane stress 2D Simplification option includes analyzing plates or bracket under pressure or distributed load, turning a wrench to tighten a bolt as shown in images below.

drawing of part in 3dexperience

wrench drawing in 3dexperience

It is assumed no loads act in the direction normal to the section plane and no stress variation along that direction.

Plane Strain option is used for models that extend long along direction compared to the other two, for example a long pipe. In the direction normal to section plane the body does not deform and there is no force variation.  This option is not available for Thermal studies.  Examples include 3-point bending test, pipe under internal pressure, sheet rolling or studying deflection due to water pressure on walls of a tunnel or dam.

plane strain in 2d simplification

Extruded Option for 2D Simplification is available only for Thermal studies and is used for defining constant thermal loads along extrusion direction.

Axisymmetric is used for 3D models where geometry, loads, constraints, and contacts have same axis of symmetry.

extruded option showing 2d image

When it comes to defining fixtures, no restraints are applied along direction normal to section plane. Therefore, a hinge restraint along circular edge will result in that edge to rotate about its own axis only and Roller/Slider restrain on selected edge will cause that edge to not move along in-plane normal direction. This is also the case with Symmetry fixture in 2D simplification studies.

Forces can be defined in in-plane direction normal to selected edge.  However non-uniform distribution of force or bearing load is not permitted for 2D Simplification study.  Centrifugal load can be defined only for axisymmetric problems. Torque can be applied about an axis perpendicular to the section plane for plane stress and plane strain problems.

It is not recommended to apply boundary condition -load or fixture to an edge or vertex which is coincident with axis of symmetry in 2D axisymmetric studies.  If there is a need to define a load or fixture to an edge or vertex that is coincident with axis of symmetry in 2D axisymmetric, then it is better to consider using a 3D study, but only modeling a small wedge of the geometry, i.e. use 30 or 10 degrees of the geometry instead of the entire 360 degrees.

There are some restrictions on the use of features in 2D Simplification studies.  Model simplification features such as Treat as remote mass/load, make rigid, virtual connectors – spring, bolt, pin, bearing, spot weld, link and rigid connectors are not available.  Elastic support and bearing fixtures are not available with 2D Simplification studies and Flow effects from Flow Simulation studies cannot be imported into 2D studies.  The large displacement option is unavailable for 2D linear static studies.

Results of 2D simplification study can be plotted in 3D using the setting show as a 3D plot in the result plot definition.  For plane stress, plane strain, and extruded types of 2D studies, the results are extruded along the section depth and is the same for all cross sections parallel to the section plane.

plotted results of 2d simplification study

For the axisymmetric analysis type, the results are revolved by 330º about the axis of symmetry and is the same for all cross section about axis of revolution.

2d result plot

2D Result Plot

3D Result Plot-rotated 330 degrees

3D Result Plot-rotated 330 degrees

2D Simplification studies for appropriate 3D models will enable users to run analyses faster, thereby speeding up virtual product design testing and the overall product development process.

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Suman Sudhakaren

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