Posts Tagged "abaqus"

Many of our Abaqus customers don’t know that the Computational Fluid Dynamics approach (CFD) is not the only method of modeling fluids in Abaqus. There are many other possibilities and the right approach depends on the physics of the problem. This blog post discusses the multi physics methods of modeling fluids in Abaqus.

  • CFD method: This is the well-known and traditional method for fluids modeling. It’s based on Eulerian formulation, in which material flows through the mesh and can be accessed through the Abaqus/CFD solver. Application example: Flow through exhaust systems.
  • CEL method: This is a coupled Eulerian Lagrangian method primarily used in problems involving unbounded fluids where fluids free surface visualization is required. It’s also possible to simulate interaction between multiple materials, either fluids or solids. This method is accessible through Abaqus/explicit solver. Application example: Fluid motion in washing machine.
  • SPH method: This is a smooth particle hydrodynamics approach primarily used to model unbounded fluids that undergo severe deformation or disintegrate into individual particles. This method uses a Lagrangain approach in which material moves with the nodes or particles and can be accessed through the Abaqus/explicit solver. This method can be used for fluids as well as for solids. Application example: bird strike on an aero structure.

We can compare these three methods against multiple parameters such as materials, contact, computation speed, etc. to understand their applications and limitations:

  • Material considerations:

SPH method is most versatile in terms of material support. SPH supports fluids, isotropic solids as well as anisotropic solids.

CFD is the only technique that can model fluid turbulence

CFD is the only technique to model porous media

CFD and CEL allows material flow through the mesh: Eulerian

  • Contact considerations:


Additive manufacturing is not a new technology – it was introduced in the manufacturing industry in late 80s for very niche applications. Stereolithography, a variant of additive manufacturing, was introduced in 1986 for rapid prototyping applications; however, its true potential remained hidden for a long time. Additive manufacturing primarily refers to methods of creating a part or a tool using a layered approach. As a still-evolving technology, it now covers a family of processes such as material extrusion, material jetting, direct energy deposition, power bed fusion, and more.

Additive manufacturing expands design possibilities by eliminating many manufacturing constraints. Contrary to rapid prototyping and 3D printing, there has been a shift of focus to functional requirements in additive manufacturing; however, these functional requirements may deviate from what is expected due to many factors typical of an additive manufacturing process.

  • Change in material properties: Mechanical and thermal properties of a manufactured part differ from raw material properties. This happens due to material phase change which is typical to most additive manufacturing applications.
  • Cracking and failure: The process itself generates lots of heat that produces residual stresses due to thermal expansion. These stresses can cause cracks in material during manufacturing.
  • Distortion: Thermal stresses can lead to distortion that can make the part unusable.

The additive manufacturing process is not certifiable yet, which is a major barrier in widespread adoption of these processes commercially. The ASTM F42 committee is working on defining AM standards with respect to materials, machines, and process variables.

The role of Simulation in additive manufacturing

  • Functional design: The first objective is to generate a suitable design that meets functional requirements, then subsequently improve the design through optimization methodologies that work in parallel with simulation.
  • Generate a lattice structure: Many of the parts manufactured through AM have a lattice structure instead of a full continuum. One objective of simulation in AM is to generate a lattice structure and optimize it using sizing optimization.
  • Calibrate material: As mentioned before, the material properties of a final part can differ substantially from that of the raw material. The next objective is to capture the phase transformation process through multi-scale material modeling.
  • Optimize the AM process: Unwanted residual stresses and distortions can develop in the process. It is necessary to accurately capture these physical changes to minimize the gap between the as-designed and as-manufactured part specs.
  • In service performance: Evaluate how the manufactured part will perform under real life service loads with respect to stiffness, fatigue, etc.


Now let’s discuss each of these objectives in more detail, with respect to SIMULIA. […]

For many years, finite element modeling has been the job of a specialist; the tools used to perform even simple finite element analysis have been complex enough to require a subject matter expert. This is primarily due to the complex, difficult to understand graphical user interfaces of these products. The job is made further difficult to perform due to the requirement of advanced engineering subject knowledge by the analyst.

Can a mechanical designer who uses CAD tools to create engineering drawings be trained to perform engineering simulations?

In today’s product availability scenario, the answer is “yes.”

A CAD designer using CATIA can create and execute simple finite element models within the CATIA environment by using CATIA workbenches that have been developed for simulations. This makes it intuitive and easier for designers to ensure that their parts meet their design requirements.


How the simulation methodology gets simplified using designer level tools

  • No need of an expert level analyst tool to perform simple finite element simulation.
  • No need of manual data transfer between design and analysis departments.
  • No need of geometry clean up tools to fix data translation errors.

There are obvious benefits to adopting this simplified approach that integrates the design and analysis environments. The designer can predict design problem early in design process; subsequently the designer can check various alternatives of design in less time. This is primarily due to the tight integration of designer level tools with knowledge based engineering that allows the designer to deliver better product in less time.

Part Level Simulation

From a geometrical perspective, the simulation model can be generated at part level to begin with. The native integration within CATIA allows users to perform stress, displacement, and vibration analysis at any time in the design process, allowing more accurate sizing of parts and fewer design iterations. Individual parts consisting of solid, surface, and wireframe geometries can be analyzed under a variety of loading conditions. The analysis specifications, such as loads and restraints, are associative, with the design allowing users to perform analyses quickly and easily. These specifications are then automatically incorporated into the underlying finite element model, meaning that users do not have to work directly with the finite element model. “Virtual parts” allow items like forces, moments, and restraints to be easily modeled without having to have a detailed geometric representation.

Standard reports can be automatically generated in HTML format, providing clear and detailed information about the results of the analysis, including images associated with the computations. These reports can be used to document the analyses that have been performed and to communicate the results of the analysis to other stakeholders in the organization. CATIA V5 Analysis users benefit naturally from the overall PLM solution provided by Dassault Systèmes, including ENOVIA V5 for data and product lifecycle management. CATIA V5 Analysis users can store, manage, and version all the data associated with their product’s simulation and share the information within the extended enterprise. This unique capability allows collaboration and provides access to advanced PLM practices such as concurrent engineering and change management.


     Assembly level simulation

 If the concept of virtual parts does not hold good anymore and the complexities of various parts interacting with each other make assembly level simulation mandatory, it is possible to create analysis models for assemblies as well. The analysis of assemblies, including an accurate representation of the way the parts interact and are connected, allows for more realistic and accurate simulation. The designer does not have to make simplifying assumptions about the loading and restraints acting on an individual part. Instead the part can be analyzed within the environment that it operates with the loading automatically determined based on the way the part is connected to and interacts with surrounding parts.

The various types of connections that can be modeled include bolted connections, welded connections, pressure fitting connections, and many more. To make the job further easier for the designer, these connections can be defined using assembly level constraints that already exist in the CAT Product model. Once the design changes, the associated assembly constraints as well as corresponding FEA connections get updated, thereby creating an updated FEA model that is ready for analysis.

         Concurrent engineering made easier 

The “assembly of analysis” capability enables concurrent engineering. For example, the various parts in an assembly can be modeled and meshed separately by different users. They can either use the CATIA V5 meshing tools or import orphan meshes (meshes that don’t have any geometry associated with them) developed outside of CATIA Analysis using a variety of different modeling tools. The user responsible for analyzing the assembly can consolidate the different meshes, connect the parts, apply the loading specifications, and run the simulation. This can significantly reduce the turnaround time when analyzing large assemblies, particularly since some of the parts may have already been analyzed and therefore, the analysis models would already be available.


Extended solver capabilities

The basic level FEA solver present in the CATIA designer workbench is called the “Elfini” solver and can model only simpler physical problems such as linear materials, small deformations, small rotations and bonded contacts; real life problems can be much more complex and may necessitate the need of an advanced solver. To address such scenarios it is possible to include the well known non-linear solver Abaqus into the CATIA designer environment; it can model the effects of geometric nonlinearity, such as large displacements, and allows nonlinear materials to be included, such as the yielding of metals and nonlinear elastic materials like rubber. It also offers more advanced contact capabilities including the ability to model large relative sliding of surfaces in contact.

The Abaqus capability enables the effect of multiple steps to be analyzed, where the loading, restraints, contact conditions, etc., vary from one step to the next. This powerful technique allows complex loading sequences to be modeled. For example, a pressure vessel might be subjected to an initial bolt tightening step, followed by internal pressurization, and conclude with thermal loading.




Composites always had a well-defined place in the aerospace industry because of their properties: lightweight to make overall design lighter and toughness to make overall design bear the aero structural loads. At present, from aircraft fairing to train noses, boat hulls and wind turbines, composites offer dramatic opportunities to meet increasing cost-driven market requirements and environmental concerns. However, modeling of composites in a seamless collaborative environment has always been a challenge. This is because of multiple aspects of composites modeling such as design, simulation, and manufacturing that made it quite a tough task on a single platform.

CATIA composites workbench now offers a solution to address various aspects of composites modeling in a unified manner. The objective of this blog post is to provide information on composites workbench capabilities with respect to design, simulation, and manufacturability of composites.


There are different ways to start the preliminary design of a composite part, but the zone-based design is ideal to capture analysis constraints and predict the behavior of the part inside the design environment by importing thickness laws. The thickness laws are calculated as a result of FEA analysis. The composites part design workbench in CATIA provides easy-to-use dedicated zone creation and modification features. Zone-based modeling contributes to significant time savings with the ability to perform concurrent engineering with mating parts. The image below shows a wing panel with a grid created from ribs and spars in assembly context and thickness law for each cell mapped on the grid from a spreadsheet.


Once the grid information is ready, Composites workbench provides highly productive automatic ply generation from zone capabilities with automatic management of the ply staggering and stacking rules. The ability to quickly and automatically transition from zones to plies while keeping full associativity, allows the designer to focus on the design intent and helps dramatically reduce the number of geometrical tasks required to design the part.


To further check the viability of a design from the structural strength perspective, it is possible to perform the FEA simulation within the CATIA environment using the Elifini solver of CATIA analysis. The full associativity with composites workbench is maintained and true fiber angles are taken into account. To address the non-linear aspect of FEA, is it possible to export the plies data in the form of layup files to Abaqus CAE using the composites fiber modeler plug-in. In case design modifications are needed, it is possible to edit and modify any ply or sequence in the composites workbench and instantly export the modified layup file to simulation workbench or Abaqus CAE for validation. Thus designers and analysts can work together in collaboration during the composites development process, saving time, improving product quality, and preventing costly error. […]

The Dassault Systèmes SIMULIA portfolio releases new versions of its software products every year, and this year is no different. The first release of Abaqus 2017 is now available for download at the media download portal. SIMULIA has developed and broadcast 2017 release webinars to make users aware of new features available in the 2017 release, but those webinars are long recordings ranging from one to two hours each, which can be daunting. This blog post will provide a brief highlight of materials and explicit updates in Abaqus solver 2017. A more detailed explanation of any mentioned update, or answers to further questions, can be obtained either by listening to the webinar recordings at the SIMULIA 3DExperience user community portal, leaving a comment on this post, or contacting us.

SPH boundary conditions improvements

SPH particles located on opposite sides of a surface cannot interact with each other in the absence of boundary condition. This was not the case in previous releases; in Abaqus 2017, this is the default boundary condition setting. There are further improvements in tensile instability control to prevent instability among particles subjected to local tensile stresses. Below is an example in which there are SPH particles in two different chambers; the lower chamber particles are subjected to displacement BC while upper chamber particles are not subjected to any BC.

DEM improvements

  1. The series and parallel search algorithms for contact are unified to improve the DEM performance. The search cells are created only once.
  2. It is now possible to run DEM jobs with particle generators in parallel mode. This means more than one particle generator can be active while a DEM job is running.
  3. In previous releases, only fixed time increment scheme was available and it was difficult for the user to predict the appropriate time increment. In the 2017 release, an automatic time increment scheme has been introduced.
  4. Adhesive particle mixing is now supported. The algorithm used is called JKR adhesive inter particle contact. Both Hertz contact and friction are supported.

Material Enhancements

  1. There is some good news for users in the health care industry who design and manufacture cardiovascular stents: Super-elasticity, which was previously a part of user subroutines, is now available in the Abaqus 2017 material library. The motivation is Nitinol, a nickel titanium alloy used in cardiovascular stents because of super elasticity, shape memory effect, biocompatibility, and fatigue. The Nitinol model exhibits linear elastic Austensite behavior at lower stresses. On further loading, transformation from Austensite to Martensite occurs but behavior is still linear elastic. Beyond full transformation, Martensite exhibits elastic plastic behavior. A similar phenomenon is observed in compression loading. It is supported in Abaqus CAE.











2. A multilinear kinematic hardening model is now available in Abaqus 2017. In previous releases, this model was available as a user subroutine material called ABQ_MULTILIN_KINHARD.  Plasticity follows an array of perfectly plastic subvolumes that follow Von-Mises criteria, each with a unique yield strength. This model offers more flexibility than the linear kinematic hardening model. It is available only in Abaqus standard and intended for thermo-mechanical fatigue of metals. It is supported in Abaqus CAE.

3. The definition of damage initiation and damage evolution of cohesive elements with traction separation response has been enhanced to include rate dependent cohesive behavior. It is available only in Abaqus explicit. Non-linear damage initiation of ductile metals is now supported in Abaqus 2017. This model provides more flexibility to predict damage under arbitrary loading paths. It is available both in Abaqus standard as well as in explicit for ductile, shear and Johnson Cook material models.


4. Non-linear damage initiation of ductile metals is now supported in Abaqus 2017. This model provides more flexibility to predict damage under arbitrary loading paths. It is available both in Abaqus standard and explicit for ductile, shear and Johnson Cook material models.

5. The parallel rheological framework model now supports plane stress elements as well, in both standard as well as in explicit.

6. A new subroutine for user defined thermal expansion coefficients has been introduced. It is called VUEXPAN. This routine can be used in explicit to define thermal strain increments as a function of temperature, time, element number, state, or field variable. It is available only with Mises plasticity, Hill Plasticity and Johnson Cook model.

Usability Enhancements

1.Enhancements in distortion control: In Abaqus explicit, it is possible to convert highly compressed solid elements to linear kinematic formulation. Once that happens, the analysis does not stop even if the elements get inverted. It is activated by default when solid elements are used with crushable foam material.

2. Larger stable time increments in Abaqus explicit: In Abaqus 2017, there is an improved estimate method of element characteristic length to get larger stable time increments. It is defined in explicit step as follows:

*Dynamic, Explicit, improved DT method=YES (by default) or NO

It is further possible to invoke this method selectively in individual sets instead of global model as follows

*section control, improved DT method = YES or NO


The Dassault Systèmes SIMULIA portfolio releases new versions of its software products every year, and this year is no different. The first release of Abaqus 2017 is now available for download at the media download portal. SIMULIA has developed and broadcast 2017 release webinars to make users aware of new features available in the 2017 release, but those webinars are long recordings ranging from one to two hours each, which can be daunting. This blog post will provide a brief highlight of standard and explicit updates in the Abaqus 2017 Solver. A more detailed explanation of any mentioned update, or answers to further questions, can be obtained either by listening to the webinar recordings at the SIMULIA 3DExperience user community portal, leaving a comment on this post, or contacting us.

Updates in Abaqus Standard

Abaqus Standard 2017 has been substantially improved with respect to contact formulations. Mentioned below are the key highlights of various contact functionalities improvements.

  • Edge to surface contact has been enhanced with beams as master definition. This new approach facilitates the phenomenon of twist in beams during frictional contact.
  • Cohesive behavior in general contact.

General contact has always been useful in situations where either it becomes cumbersome to visualize and define large number of contact pairs, even by using contact wizard, or it’s not possible to predict contact interactions based on initial configuration. The general contact support now includes cohesive behavior, thereby making it possible to define contact in situations shown in figure below.Image1


Cohesive contact does not constrain rotational degree of freedoms. These DOFs should be constrained separately to avoid pivot ratio errors.

There have been few other changes in cohesive contact interactions. In the 2016 release, only first time cohesive contact was allowed by default, i.e. either a closed cohesive behavior at initial contact or an open initial contact that could convert to a close cohesive contact only once. In the 2017 release, only a closed initial contact could maintain a cohesive behavior by default settings. Any open contact cannot be converted to cohesive contact later. However, it is possible to change the default settings.



  • Linear complementary problem

A new step feature has been defined to remove some limitations of perturbation step. In earlier releases, it was not possible to define a contact in perturbation step that changes its status from open to close or vice versa. In 2017 release, an LCP type technique has been introduced in perturbation step to define frictionless, small sliding contact that could change its contact status. No other forms of non-linearity can be supported in perturbation steps.  LCP is available only for static problems. Any dynamic step is not supported.


Updates in Abaqus XFEM (crack modeling) […]

The Dassault Systèmes SIMULIA portfolio releases new versions of its software products every year, and this year is no different. The first release of Abaqus 2017 is now available for download at the media download portal. In this blog post, I provide a brief highlight of updates in Abaqus CAE 2017. A more detailed explanation of any mentioned update, or answers to further questions, can be obtained either by listening to the webinar recordings at SIMULIA 3D Experience user community portal, leaving a comment on this post, or contacting us.

  • Consistency check for missing sections

Abaqus CAE users would probably agree that this mistake happens quite often, even though the parts with defined section assignments are displayed in a separate color. In previous releases, this check was not included in data check runs, so it was not possible to detect this error unless a full run was executed. In the 2017 release, missing regions can be identified in a data check run, thus saving time by eliminating fatal error runs.



  • New set and surface queries in query toolset

The sets and surfaces can be created at part as well as assembly level. In earlier releases, it was not possible to see the content of a set or surface in the form of text, though it was possible to visualize the content in the viewport. In the 2017 release, query toolbox includes set and surface definition options. In case of sets, information about geometry, nodes, and elements can be obtained with respect to label, type, connectivity and association with part or instance, whichever is applicable. In case of surfaces, name, type, and association with instances, constraints, or interactions can be obtained.



  • Geometry face normal query

In the 2017 release, it is possible to visualize the normal of the face or surface by picking it in the viewport. In case of planar faces, normal is displayed instantly. In case of curved faces, CAE prompts the user to pick a point location on the face by various options.



There is a phrase among finite element analyst user community. Those who have been in the industry since a while must have heard of it at some point in their career.


It means that if the data being fed into the input deck is not correct or appropriate, the solver is very likely to give incorrect results, and that’s if it does not fail with errors. Many of us believe that getting some sort of result is better than getting fatal errors, which is not correct. Fatal errors give clear diagnostic messages to the user that allow him to correct the input deck. However, getting erroneous results sometimes makes a user feel that the simulation has been successful even though the results may be far from reality. Such situations are hard to predict and correct, as the underlying cause is not clearly visible.

One such situation arises when the user inadvertently chooses an element type that is not capable of capturing the actual physical behavior of the part or assembly with which the element is associated. The incompatibility may lie with respect to element material, element topology, element dimension, or the type of output associated with the element. The objective of this post is to highlight the capabilities and limitations of some lesser known element types available in the Abaqus element library to promote their proper usage.

Planar elements

These elements are further classified as either plane stress (CPS) or plane strain elements (CPE). The plane stress elements are used to model thin structures such as composite plate. These elements must be defined and can deform only in X-Y plane. For these types of elements:

szz = t xz = t yz = 0


The plane strain elements are used to model thick structures such as rubber gaskets. These types of elements must be defined and can deform only in X-Y plane. For these types of elements:

ezz = gxz = gyz = 0


Generalized plane strain elements


As an FEA analyst, you are likely losing too much of your time in CAD repair.

If you are an experienced FEA analyst, you must have come across following types of situations often while meshing your models:

“I create 3D geometries in CAD uniting together several surfaces so that the CAD modeler itself sees one unique surface; however, whenever I export it as a .sat, .stp or even binary file for Parasolid and then import it into the FEA pre-processor, I again see all those surfaces that are not supposed to be there.”

“For some parts I am extruding surfaces to solids, and for some parts I am building solids out of intersecting surfaces. All in all, it is a kind of a box structure with a hole on one side. I started importing it to GUI part by part, and as soon as I have top and bottom plate and two sides, the meshing fails. How did you exactly resolve this meshing problem?”

The FEA user community knows that most of the user interfaces available for finite element analysis are good for FE modeling only – they are not expert CAD modelers. It often happens that the CAD model created is not free from defects from a meshing perspective. The most common problems are duplicate edges, gaps, silver surfaces, unnecessary patches, etc. The problem is often more severe if a CAD model is first translated to a neutral format such as .sat, .iges, .step files before being imported into the FEA pre-processor; the defects are generated during the translation. In many other cases, the repairs made in the CAD model are not propagated into FEA modeler. The only option left is to repair the geometry in the FEA model itself, but the repair tools required often don’t exist in these user interfaces.

One-click model transfer from CAD to FEA without any neutral file format

For Abaqus users, there is great news: the Abaqus CAE pre-processor now has associative interfaces for CATIA, ProE and SOLIDWORKS.

The CATIA V5 Associative Interface allows you to transfer CATIA V5 Parts and Products into Abaqus/CAE using associative import. Materials and publications assigned to the CATIA V5 model are also transferred to the Abaqus/CAE model as material and set definitions respectively. In addition to associative import, the CATIA V5 Associative Interface allows you to directly import the geometry of CATIA V5 models in .CATPart and .CATProduct format into Abaqus/CAE without any intermediate neutral files. The following options are available with CATIA V5 associative interface: […]

Dassault Systèmes introduced a new licensing server a while ago to support licenses of all its products including SIMULIA. The server is called as Dassault Systèmes license server or DSLS. This article highlights the various installation and license management aspects of DSLS with specific focus on SIMULIA products on DSLS. It’s worthy to mention here that SIMULIA’s native FlexLM license server is still compatible with all SIMULIA products and releases and this compatibility is likely to continue in future as well.

The installation media: The best location to find latest version of DSLS media along with installation guide is the following:

As of March 2016, the latest version of DSLS is version 6.418.2 that supports all versions of SIMULIA 2016 line of products as well as other versions of Abaqus as old as Abaqus 6.12. The media provides options to install DSLS either as a license server or as a license management tool.

The server target ID: The FlexLM license server requires physical address of Ethernet Adapter local area connection, which is usually a 12 digit numerical string such as 5S-26-0A-3W-87-0C. The DSLS target ID extraction is quite different. The media contains an executable called DSLicTarget.exe that should be launched to get the DSLS target ID for a given server. The syntax of DSLS target ID is usually a three digit character followed by a long numeric number such as CAT-427B18A3C4168A67.

The visual look of DSLS: Shown below are three visual images of the DSLS once it is installed and launched.

When DSLS is installed but server is not started


When server is started but licenses are not enrolled



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