Structural Analysis

CAD-embedded SOLIDWORKS Simulation enables every designer and engineer to carry out structural simulation on parts and assemblies with finite element analysis (FEA) while they work to improve and validate performance and reduce the need for costly prototypes or design changes later on.

Structural simulation covers a wide range of FEA problems—from the performance of a part under a constant load to the stress analysis of a moving assembly under dynamic loading, all of which can be determined using SOLIDWORKS Simulation tools.

Structural Analysis Overview

Designers and engineers primarily use structural simulation to determine the strength and stiffness of a product by reporting component stress and deformations. The type of structural analysis you perform depends on the product being tested, the nature of the loads, and the expected failure mode:

  • A short/stocky structure will most likely fail due to material failure (that is, the yield stress is exceeded).
  • A long slender structure will fail due to structural instability (geometric buckling).
  • With time dependent loads, the structure will require some form of dynamic analysisto analyze component strength.

The component material you use can also influence which type of analysis you perform:

  • Metallic components, under moderate loads, generally require some form of linear analysis, where the material has a linear relationship between the part deformation and the applied load below the materials yield point
  • Rubber and plastics require a nonlinear analysis, as elastomers have a nonlinear relationship between the part deformation and the applied load. This is also the case for metals beyond their yield point.