Doing a combined thermal and static study in SOLIDWORKS

SOLIDWORKS Simulation has a very powerful finite element analysis tool that allows users to run multiple simulation studies, to name some; frequency, linear dynamic, static, and thermal analyses of components.

One aspect that sets it apart is its ability to run two studies simultaneously for example running both a static and thermal study to see how the component behaves. For this particular tutorial we will consider a simple rod with a rectangular cross-section to demonstrate this capability.

We begin by first creating the cross-section for the rod. Create a new part and define the sketch below on the front plane.

 

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Use the extrude command to create the part. Proceed to define the material as copper because it has good thermal conductivity.
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Then creating a new thermal study. Make sure that SOLIDWORKS Simulation add-in is enabled in the add-ins folder
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Move to the Simulation tab and click on “New Study”. Here define a new Thermal study.

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In the feature manager tree, we only need to define our thermal loads. We do this by specifying the temperatures of the end faces.

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Running the Simulation Study automatically generates the mesh and begins the simulation.

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We can observe an even temperature distribution. We know that with an increase in temperature, there is subsequent thermal expansion. We need to look at what happens when we fix the ends of the part in the presence of the thermal load.

Proceed to create a new static study and define the fixed geometry.
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To incorporate the thermal loads defined in the thermal study, simply move to external loads and select thermal loads. Let the reference temperature at zero strain remain 298 Kelvin (Room temperature)

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Click OK and run the static analysis. Notice the deformed shape is due to compressive forces since the ends are fixed. The deformation is considerable on the hotter end.

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