SOLIDWORKS Simulation Quick Tip: Prescribed Displacements

When setting up an analysis in SOLIDWORKS Simulation, we typically think of applying forces or other loads and calculating the resulting stresses and displacements as our outputs. However, in situations where the forces may not be known, an expected displacement can effectively be used as the “load” input to the analysis.

This is known as a Prescribed Displacement and is available under the External Loads drop-down.

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Note that launching the Prescribed Displacement command actually brings the user to a type of advanced fixture, where a direction for the displacement must be specified. Then, the amount and direction of the prescribed translation or rotation are specified.

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As a result, the force required to achieve the prescribed displacement can be backed out by using the option List Result Force and of course the resulting stresses can be calculated.

If it is ever necessary to apply both a translation and rotation, then an alternate method is to use the Remote Load/Mass feature under the External Loads pulldown. Within the Remote Load/Mass is the option to apply a Displacement.

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This requires slightly more setup work since it is typically recommended to create a Coordinate System at the location where the displacement will be applied, as can be seen below. Once setup, however, it provides an easy way to prescribe both Translations and Rotations about this point in space.

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It’s also worth noting that the Remote Load/Mass can effectively be used as a type of advanced fixture when used with this “Displacement” option. In fact, an important consideration whenever using a Prescribed Displacement is that it is placing additional constraints on the system.  If a displacement is applied, then that displacement will never be exceeded no matter how much force is applied elsewhere in the model.


For additional details on how this process can be performed, please check out our YouTube channel or contact Hawk Ridge Systems today. Thanks for reading!

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