Solving Beamy Part 2 – Three-Point Bending Test with Structural Professional Engineer

In the previous blog post, we discussed solving a 3-point bending test for a bracket for a new portable projector. Figure 1 shows a typical 3-point bending test, but please read the previous blog for a review of how we solved the problem using SOLIDWORKS Simulation Premium.

Figure 1 – Typical Three-Point Bending Test


While we were able to solve the problem using the solver available inside of SOLIDWORKS Simulation, the solve time, coupled with the amount of tweaking of the solver, makes using that approach problematic and not fast enough for multiple case studies for a problem like this.

In this post we’re going to explore a new solution, Structural Professional Engineer, available inside Dassault Systèmes 3DEXPERIENCE platform that utilizes the SIMULIA/Abaqus solver and couples with SOLIDWORKS. We’ll start by using the one-click connector, see Figure 2. The one-click connector transfers all of the relevant simulation setup from SOLIDWORKS into the platform, and removes much of the redundant work that would typically be required to move between simulation tools.

Figure 2 – One Click Connector


With respect to contact, while in SOLIDWORKS Simulation we had to manually define the no-penetration contact pairs, Structural Professional Engineer makes the assumption that ALL faces, touching or not, are no penetration, which allows them to slide, separate or collide and develop contact pressure throughout the solution.

The boundary conditions, loads and material properties have all been transferred for us. For the supports beams let’s delete the mesh that came over from SOLIDWORKS Simulation and move to a nice structured swept brick mesh. This meshing scheme will help to speed up solve time while ensuring a high accuracy result. Figure 3 shows the Feature Manager available in Structural Professional Engineer, which describes the settings for the simulation. Figure 4 highlights the ability of Structural Professional Engineer to create a swept brick mesh on appropriate geometry; in this example the rods have swept brick elements.

Figure 3 – Feature Manager in Structural Professional Engineer.


Figure 4 – Swept Brick Mesh


Now we’re ready to run this problem. Because it’s a relatively small model we can run locally. This solver is very fast, so within five minutes I have results for the full run, however for larger problems we could take advantage of cloud computing. Cloud computing can exponentially reduce solve times while freeing up your local machine.

Let’s take a look at the results. We can see the model going through the full range of motion (Figure 5) and we can highlight where plastic deformation has occurred, as shown in Figure 6.

Figure 5 – Displacement of Bracket



Figure 6 – Plastic Strain


While the requirement was only for 20mm of deflection, we inspected a worse case scenario deflection of 80mm and within 10 minutes we were able to get results in SSE (Figure 7). Because of high strain, localized buckling, and complex contact, this worst case scenario was way beyond the scope of what could be solved in SOLIDWORKS Simulation.


Figure 7 – Worst Case 80 mm Displacement


The beauty of working between SOLIDWORKS Simulation and Structural Professional Engineer on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform is now when we make changes in SOLIDWORKS, they can be immediately reflected in Structural Professional Engineer and we can reevaluate our designs quickly without redundant steps. With a five-minute run time now we can confidently evaluate multiple designs and multiple load cases fast.