Analysis Lesson 1: SOLIDWORKS and 3DEXPERIENCE Simulation for Diving Board

  After teaching 1000’s of students and writing about SOLIDWORKS and SOLIDWORKS Simulation for over 25 years, David Planchard, emeritus WPI, is exploring 3DEXPERIENCE Simulation and the Abaqus solver.  Through the SOLIDWORKS and 3DEXPERIENCE Simulation Lesson series, David helps educators understand 3DEXPERIENCE Simulation fundamentals through simple examples and industry practices.    

Dassault Systèmes owns SOLIDWORKS and a lot of various simulation software packages. Simulation packages range from SOLIDWORKS Simulation, CATIA Analysis, Abaqus and many others. The 3DEXPERIENCE Simulation Technology is under the SIMULIA family.

Access the 3DEXPERIENCE Simulation Apps directly from SOLIDWORKS or through your browser.

Learn the proper work flow to upload a SOLIDWORKS part to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform and perform a Static Linear simulation study using the Abaqus solver.

Why do I teach my freshmen about simple stress analysis using 3DEXPERIENCE Simulation? I want them to get excited about their advanced classes over the next 4 years.

Learning the theory to derive complex formulas to understand the variables is essential, but getting early exposure to simulation software, brings theory to reality with instant visualizations and what-ifs. This shows the students the potential of using simulation in the real world.

In this lesson, explore 3DEXPERIENCE Simulation for a structural domain. Open a SOLIDWORKS part that has not been saved to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. Upload the part to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. Save the part in your Collaborative space. Use an existing Bookmark. Return to your SOLIDWORKS desktop. Lock the part.

Run a Structural analysis using the Linear Structural Validation App from the SOLIDWORKS Task Pane.

Note: This is an entry level mode. Set Study conditions: Mesh type, Material, Fix Displacement Restraint and Load (Force). Apply the load to a SOLIDWORKS Split Line Feature. The Split Line Feature is created to correctly apply a Load during the simulation study. Run a Static Linear simulation. Create three plots: Von Mises Stress plot, Displacement plot, and Factor of Safety plot. Save the simulation in your Collaborative space. Review the plots to understand the results.

3DEXPERIENCE Engineer in Education contains the entire 3DEXPERIENCE Works Structural Simulation portfolio.

Before we start, there are a few items that you need to know.

In this lesson, use your default Collaborative space. An internet connection is required. A 3DEXPERIENCE ID is required.

The Simulation lesson provides a foundation to users who are new to using simulation to solve real-word engineering and design problems. A Solid body is used. You should have a basic understanding of Stressand the Finite Element Method (FEM).

3DEXPERIENCE Launcher needs to be installed. 3DEXPERIENCE Works Lesson 1: Getting Started with SOLIDWORKS.

The 3DEXPERIENCE platform is browser driven. Your existing cookies and cache determine what you will see on your computer desktop or during a SOLIDWORKS login. A full installation of SOLIDWORKS 2019 SP0 or later is required

Start a SOLIDWORKS session from your desktop

Double-click the SOLIDWORKS icon.

View the illustration below. Depending on your system setup, cookies, and cache, it will be different. Read the provided information.

Input the requested data.

Click Accept All.

The Welcome – SOLIDWORKS dialog box is displayed.

You are logged into the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.

Close the Welcome dialog box.

Click the 3DEXPERIENCE icon in the Task Pane. The MySession panel is displayed. This displays the two-way communication between SOLIDWORKS running on your desktop and the 3DEXPERIENCE platform running in the cloud.

In this lesson, I’m using a Collaborative space named Quick Start xDesign.

Note: If you do not see the 3DEXPERIENCE icon, click the Options drop-down arrow, click Add-Ins, check the 3DEXPERIENCE box, click OK, from the SOLIDWORKS Main menu.

Click Accept All.

Download, Open and Save to 3DEXPERIENCE Diving Board Part

Download the SOLIDWORKS part, Diving Board to follow along with this lesson.

Diving Board

Open the SOLIDWORKS Diving Board part that has not been previously uploaded or saved to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. Use the Split Line Feature in the Simulation.

The MySession panel displays the Component Name, Status (Displays an icon that represents the status of a given revision, saved or not saved to the platform), Locked status (Locked or Unlocked), Rev (Revision #), Is Last Revision (Yes/No), Maturity State (Lifecycle state of the family, for example: Private, In Work, Frozen, Released, Obsolete), Description, File Name (Displays the PLM external ID of the object for reference objects and the PLM external ID of the connection for instances) and Type (Physical Product or Drawing).

At this time, they are blank. You opened a SOLIDWORKS part that has not been previously uploaded or saved to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.

Save the part to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.

Click Save Active Window from the Lifecycle tab in the Action bar.


The file is temporarily being saved to a local cache area. The platform is checking for out of date components, modified components from the last save to the platform, different revisions, missing components, etc. Note: If the platform identifies an error with your file, error information is provided.

The Save to 3DEXPERIENCE dialog box and PLM attributes are displayed. The PLM attributes include: Bookmark, Revision, Maturity State, Collaborative Space, and Reservation Owner.

Save the model. Use your existing Collaborative space. Use an existing Bookmark. Note: if needed view 3DEXPERIENCE Works Lesson 3: SOLIDWORKS Bookmarks, Share and Delete.

Select Bookmark

Note: Use Bookmarks (links) to delete entire groups of data or just a single file. For assemblies within the Bookmark folder, there is an option to delete the entire structure of the assembly and all reference components.

Click Select Bookmark. The Select a Bookmark dialog box is displayed.

In the below example, I selected Design Project 104 as my bookmark.

Click Apply.

Click Save from the Save to 3DEXPERIENCE dialog box.

The model is directly loaded into your Collaborative space and Bookmarked on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. You are returned back into your SOLIDWORKS desktop session.

View the Status column in the updated MySession panel. The Status icon displays a green check mark. This means that the current file on your SOLIDWORKS desktop is updated and saved to the platform. The default Revision is A. The Maturity State is “In Work”. This is the default Lifecycle state after you saved the model to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.

Lock the part. This prevents anyone else in making a change to it.

Right-click the Diving Board model.

Click Lock. The lock icon is displayed. Diving Board is selected.

Linear Structural Validation App

Click the center of the Compass. Use the Linear Structural Validation App. Think of this App as the SOLIDWORKS Simulation Add-in inside of SOLIDWORKS. Most of the 3DEXPERIENCE Apps run in your web browser. 3DEXPERIENCE Simulation Apps perform a small installation on your windows machine. Both types of Apps are linked to your PLM data on the platform. The Linear Structural Validation App provides the ability to run Linear Structural, Buckling, Frequency, and Thermal Simulation studies.

Drag the slider downward to view the Linear Structural Validation App.

Launch the Linear Structural Validation App. Note: If this is your first time using a 3DEXPERIENCE Simulation App(s), download the needed App information on your computer.


This can take 10 – 15 seconds.

The 3DEXPERIENCE | SIMULIA Linear Structural Validation App is displayed.

Except the default Simulation title.

Select Structural (Linear Static Study) from the Analysis type drop-down box.

Click OK.

In a linear analysis, there is a linear relationship between the applied loads and the induced response of the component. In a nonlinear analysis the response of the component is not a linear function of the magnitude of the applied loads.

Diving Board 1 Simulation

The Action bar is displayed.

Use a View tool to move the model in the center of the window.

Rename the default Simulation title.

Click the Setup tab in the Action bar.

Click Simulation Properties. The Properties dialog box is displayed.

Enter a new Title. In this example, I entered Diving Board 1.

Click Apply. Click OK Properties dialog box.


Apply a Global mesh. Use the default element type (Tetrahedron second-order elements). Note: Mesh refinement is very important in regions of high stress concentrations such as regions of contact or sharp corners. Typically a smaller element size yields more accurate results, but increases the run time.

Click the Mesh tab in the Action bar.

Click Generate Mesh. Meshing splits continuous geometric models into finite elements. The types of elements created by this process depend on the type of geometry meshed. In this example a solid element – solid geometry is used.

The mesh is displayed on the model.

Introducing the Assistant

Use the Assistant. The Assistant is a useful tool if you are a beginner or experienced in simulation. The Assistant helps the user understand what conditions are required for the study.

Right-click in the Graphics area.

Click Assistant.

The Assistant is displayed. Setup displays a green check mark. Setup specifies the basic conditions for the simulation. The Linear Structural Validation App provides default values for each setting.

Apply Material

Add a Linear material. Enter 6061 Alloy.

Click Materials from the Assistant dialog box.

Drag the slider downward to view the Material Palette.

Click Material Palette from the Assistant dialog box.

The Material Palette dialog box is displayed.

Enter 6061 Alloy in the Filter Search box. View the results. Click 6061 Alloy.

Click the Simulation tab. The material definition in a FEA simulation specifies all of the relevant material properties and the proper material behavior (such as elastic, thermal conductivity, etc.).

Return back to the Material dialog box.

Drag and drop 6061 Alloy on the model.



Material is applied. A Pop-up menu is displayed. Your options are:

  1. Undo Last Apply.
  2. First Apply Material.
  3. Application on the Model.
  4. Close.

Click the green check mark from the Pop-up menu.

Close the Material Palette dialog box.

No Connections are required for the study. The Assistant displays a green checkmark.

Boundary Conditions

Address Boundary Conditions. Restraints are used to restrict the motion of certain surfaces in the model when loaded. In a Static stress simulation, one or more restraints are required. Apply a single restraint in the study.

Click Boundary Conditions from the Assistant dialog box.

Drag the slider downward to view Fixed Displacement.

Click Fixed Displacement.


The Fixed Displacement dialog box is displayed.

Select the bottom face of the support mount as illustrated. 1 Face is displayed in the Support box.

Click the X, Y, Z Translation box. No movement in the X, Y, Z directions will occur.

Click OK from the Fixed Displacement dialog box. Boundary Conditions display a green check mark in the Assistant.

View the Simulation Study tree.

Right-click in the Graphics area.

Click Display.

Click Tree Display.


View the Simulation Study tree. The Simulation Study tree displays the object organization structure. The Simulation object list the Model, Scenario and Result.

Expand the folders.


Apply a translational load in a single direction on the Split Line feature.

Click Loads from the Assistant dialog box.

Drag the slider downward to view Force.

Click Force.


The Force dialog box is displayed. The default name is Force.1. The default unit in the solver is  Newton.

Click the Split Line feature (rectangular shape)of the model as illustrated. 1 Face is displayed in the Support box.

Enter 1350N for Force. The Force is pointing downwards in the global or local z direction.

Click OK from the Force dialog box.

Loads (1) is created. A green check mark is displayed.



Run the Simulation.

Click Simulate from the Assistant dialog box.

Click Simulate as illustrated to run the Static Linear simulation.

By default, the simulation runs on your local machine using an embedded license. Local interactive is set by default. The Local interactions define interactions between sets of geometric entities of solids, shells and beams.

Click OK from the Simulate dialog box.

Expand and read the Warnings.

Close the Simulation Status dialog box.

Click Close.

Review the Results

Analyze the simulation results to understand the stress and displacement patterns that develop as the force deforms the model. The Von Mises Stress plot is displayed by default.


In this example, use the results plots for the Von Mises stress, displacement, and factor of safety (FOS). Verify that the Von Mises stresses do not exceed the material’s yield strength. For most metals, the yield strength is defined as the stress point at 0.2% strain offset. For 6061 Alloy this is (5.157 × 107N/m2).Basics of Stress Limits for 3DEXPERIENCE – YouTube

The mouse cursor automatically acts as a probe.

Rotate the part to view the highest stress area.

Click a point on the model as illustrated. View the Von Mises Stress at that point. A Pop-up menu is displayed. Note: To deselect the displayed point, click in the Graphics area.

The maximum stress occurs at the end of the support base of the Driving board as illustrated. The maximum Von Mises stress (1.4 × 108N/m2) is above the material’s yield strength of   (5.157 × 107N/m2).

Click the Show Min/Max Value icon.


View the results and locations of the values.

Click the Hide Max or Min values and close icon.

When a part sustains high stress values that exceed the material’s yield strength, you need to validate that the part is safe from material failure.

Create a Displacement contour plot. Note: In SOLIDWORKS Simulation the URES Resultant Displacment and the Displacement in 3DEXPERIENCE Simulation represents the same displacement components. Displacement Component 1, 2 and 3 in 3DEXPERIENCE Simulation represents the same displacement components as UX, UY and UZ in SOLIDWORKS Simulation.


View the locations of the displacement. The highest displacement occurs at the end of the board where the diver is diving. This type of displacement is normal for a diving board.

Review the Factor of Safety (FOS) contour plot to identify the critical regions of the model.

The FOS plot displays how close a material is to yielding. The Factor of Safety is calculated by dividing the material’s Proof (Yield) Strength by the Allowable stress.

Create a Factor of Safety (FOS) contour plot.

The FOS plot has a maximum limit of 2 by default. Regions of the model with a FOS larger   than 2 are shown in gray. Regions of the model with a FOS less than 1 develop stresses above the material’s yield strength under the current loading conditions.

The smallest factors of safety occur in the localized regions where the highest Von Mises stresses occur.

 Note: To modify the values of a contour plot, double-click the plot legend, and enter new values.

Save model and simulation results

Save the model and Simulation Study results.

Click the Share icon as illustrated.

Click Save. By default, the model and simulation study data are saved to your Collaborative space on the platform. For Simulation study data, there are two locations, either on your local machine or on the platform. By default, the Simulation study data is stored to your Collaborative space.

Close the Simulation study.

Click Close on the Diving Board 1 tab.

The lesson is finished.


3DEXPERIENCE Communities:

Academic Community: After you create a 3DEXPERIENCE ID, Educators, can get more information on SOLIDWORKS and the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform.  Request to join the 3DEXPERIENCE Academic Community for free at

Student Community: Students, join the student community for free at  Check out great posts on Mechanism Mondays, FEA Fridays,  Solid Saturdays (animations),  Formula Student and Formula SAE exercises.

Additional tutorials and lessons:

My SolidWorks and 3DEXPERIENCE Edu Space.


Additional Lessons in 3DEXPERIENCE Simulation Series:


Analysis Lesson 2 : SOLIDWORKS and 3DEXPERIENCE Simulation Linear Structural Validation Part 1


Additional Lessons in this series on 3DEXPERIENCE Works:

3DEXPERIENCE Works Lesson 1: Getting Started with SOLIDWORKS and the Platform

3DEXPERIENCE Works Lesson 2: SOLIDWORKS and Save and Revision

3DEXPERIENCE Works Lesson 3: SOLIDWORKS and Bookmarks, Share and Delete

3DEXPERIENCE Works Lesson 4: SOLIDWORKS and Lifecycle Maturity States

3DEXPERIENCE Works Lesson 5: SOLIDWORKS, Collaborative Space and Bookmarks

3DEXPERIENCE Works Lesson 6: SOLIDWORKS with Search Tools

3DEXPERIENCE Works Lesson 7: SOLIDWORKS with 3DPlay

3DEXPERIENCE Works Lesson 8: SOLIDWORKS with 3DDrive




Additional Lessons in this series on SOLIDWORKS xDesign:

SOLIDWORKS xDesign Lesson #1: Getting Started

SOLIDWORKS xDesign Lesson #2: Mouse Control and Collaborative Space

SOLIDWORKS xDesign Lesson #3: Sketch Planes

SOLIDWORKS xDesign Lesson #4: Create A Dashboard

SOLIDWORKS xDesign Lesson #5: Views and Orientations

SOLIDWORKS xDesign Lesson #6: Importing Files and Using Bookmarks

SOLIDWORKS xDesign Lesson #7: Assemblies

SOLIDWORKS xDesign Lesson #8: 4Bar Linkage and Kinematics

SOLIDWORKS xDesign Lesson #9: External References and Copy with Mates

SOLIDWORKS xDesign Lesson #10: Sketching, Constraints and Dimensions

SOLIDWORKS xDesign Lesson #11: Sketch Based and Applied Features

Design well, Marie

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