FEA Tutorial: Bending of A Cantilever Beam in SolidWorks

SolidWorks Education Edition contains hundreds of FEA Tutorials right inside the software.  I decided to talk about classic examples I did for my students in Engineering Mechanics – Statics and Engineering Physics. 

Cantilever beam applied force

SolidWorks has Verification examples.and NA FEMs examples.  These examples provide the analytical solution in algebra form.  Engineering textbooks by Hibbler, Beers and Johnson, Bedford and Fowler and a host of other authors would also contain the calculus solution – but I will leave that for math class.

Cantilever beam deflection 

The Cantilever Beam example looks at deflection of a beam loaded in sheer or an end moment.  The results are presented to you by SolidWorks both graphically and numerically.  It is important to understand units.  If the exercise is presented to you in IPS (Inch Pound Seconds) or SI units, understand what is required and the units needed.  In this example, you will have to use Edit Definition on the Deflection results and change the units to inches.

 Cantilever beam analytical solution

Now you can double-click on a dimension to modify the length or cross section of the beam and see how the deflection, stress and strain results will vary all in one interface, just double-click on the beam to modify the dimensions.  If you want to put a notch in the beam, select the Feature Manager at the top to modify the geometry.  Click the Study tab at the bottom of the Graphics window, Right-click  to “mesh and run” on the Mesh entry to review the new results.  Sure beats the days of when I had to use a pre and post processor and import geometry!

Cantilever beam length 20 

Model: Download Static_16 part  (SolidWorks 2011-2012 Education Edition.  Also available in SolidWorks 2010 from Help>SolidWorks Simulation>Verification examples

Video: Download FEA Bending of a Cantilever Beam low res



Marie Planchard

Marie Planchard

Senior Director, Early Engagement, 3DEXPERIENCE Works at Dassault Systemes
Marie Planchard is an education and engineering advocate. As Senior Director of Education & Early Engagement, SOLIDWORKS, she is responsible for global development of content and social outreach for the 3DEXPERIENCE Works products across all levels of learning including educational institutions, Fab Labs, and entrepreneurship.
Marie Planchard