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ANSYSTips
ANSYSTipsandANSYSTricks
PeterBudgell
Burlington,Ontario,Canada

1998,1999byPeterC.BudgellYouarewelcometoprintandphotocopythesepages.
Thesetipsandcommentsareintendedforusereducationpurposesonly.Theyaretobeusedatyourownrisk.Thecontents
arebasedonmyexperiencewithANSYS5.3morerecentversionsmaychangethings.Thecontentsdonotattemptto
discussalltheconceptsofthefiniteelementmethodthatarerequiredtoobtainsuccessfulsolutions.Itisyourresponsibilityto
determineifyouhavesufficientknowlegeandunderstandingoffiniteelementtheorytoapplythesoftwareappropriately.I
haveattemptedtogiveaccurateinformation,butcannotacceptliabilityforanyconsequencesordamageswhichmayresult
fromerrorsinthisdiscussion.Accordingly,Idisclaimanyliabilityforanydamagesincluding,butnotlimitedto,injurytopersonor
property,lostprofit,datarecoverycharges,attorney'sfees,oranyothercostsorexpenses.
Asonewriterputit,Thisinformationisfree,andmaybewellworththeprice.

ReturntoHomePage
FEAandOptimizationIntroductionPage
FEAModelingIssuesPage
TheANSYSmanualsexplainmanythingsandgivesomeexamples,buttheydonotgive
manytipstotheuser.HereisacollectionofthingsIhavenotedorlearned.(Useatyour
ownrisk...)Necessityisthemotherofinvention,andIlearnedvirtuallyeverythinghereas
aresultofneed,orasaresultoftrialandlotsoferror.I'malsothankfultomylocal
ANSYSdistributorformanyhelpfulconversations.ThecommentsinthesepagesarebasedonmyexperiencewithANSYS
5.0throughANSYS5.3.Ihopethesetipswillshortenyourlearningcurve.Ananalystfrequentlydoesnothaveamentorfor
guidance,soconsiderableeffortcanbeneededtodeducehowtoaccomplishsometasks.ANSYSusersneedtospenda
generousamountoftimereadingthemanualsandtrainingmaterials,andreturningtoreadthemagainastheuser'sknowledge
oftheprogramincreases.Don'tuseanythinghereverbatim...understandwhyitworks,andwhethermycommentsareinerror
orinappropriateforyoursituation,beforeemployinganyofthesesuggestions.
TheteachingofFEAattheacademiclevelisintendedtoeducatethemind,teachhowFEAmethodsarederivedfromfirst
principles,andtodevelopstudentswhocaninventandcodenewelements,testtheirbehavior,writeresearchorindustrial
qualitysoftware,andapplyittodifficultacademicorresearchproblems.Someprofessorsfeelstronglythatthepurposeofan
undergradcourseinFEAisfurthereducationinhowappliedmath,engineering,continuummechanics,energymethods,and
analysisofstructurescometogether,buildingontheStrengthofMaterialscoursesalreadytakenIhavenoargumentwith
that.AuserwithacomprehensionofwhatunderliesFEAworkwillknowwhentoapplyandhowtoevaluateFEAwork,have
morecreativity,learnquickly,problemsolvebetter,bemoreinnovative,andmakefewerseriousmodelingerrors.The
professorsdonotfeelthatthecourseisintendedtoconcentrateonmodelingdetailsorlearningtheinterfacetoacommercial
FEAprogram.(Students,ontheotherhand,wanttograduatehavingusedanFEApackagetodosomethingsignificant.
AssignmentsandprojectswithANSYS/EDareagoodwaytogetthere.)I'veheardtheopinionexpressedthatwithFEA
technologymaturing,thereislessresearchgrantmoneyforFEAworkinuniversities,andthesupplyofadvancedFEA
graduatestudentsmaybeshrinking.TheteachingofcommercialFEAprogramuseisprincipallyfocusedontrainingpeopleto
usetheinterfacetoandcommandsoftheparticularsoftwarepackage,andhowtoperformbasicanalysistypes.Some
instructorspeppertheirpresentationswithtips,buttheattendeesmaybedrowningfrominformationoverload.Littleis
availabletoleadtheuserthroughthetechniquesthatcanbeusedinmodelingcomplexstructures,andaroundthetrapsthat
exist,excepthelpfromgoodvendorsupportpeople,coworkers,orotherusers,andsubstantialreading,thought,trying
examples,andtestingtechniquesonthepartoftheanalyst.Ihopethatthesepageswillprovidesomehelpfuldetails.
CONTENTS:
Tip1:UseAnnotations
Tip2:MakingRoomforAnnotations
Tip3:UsingParametersinAnnotations
Tip4:UseSmallAnnotations
Tip5:MathematicalFunctionsAvailable
Tip6:Start16BitApplicationsbeforeStartingANSYSunderWindowsNT
Tip7:RunningANSYSatLowPriorityunderWindowsNT4.0
Tip8:Operatingon(Scaling)Loads
Tip9:RampingLoadsDowntoZero
Tip10:StartingANSYSGraphsatt=0
Tip11:PressureonLines
Tip12:RampingSomeLoads,NotOthers
Tip13:ForceandPressureonFlatPlatesorFlatShells
Tip14:LinearandNonlinearBuckling
Tip15:NonlinearAnalysisandtheArcLengthMethod
Tip16:AnimatingResultsfromaNonlinearorOtherAnalysis
Tip17:GettingtheMassorWeightofaModel
Tip18:UsingFncCallsfromMacros
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Tip19:UseENSYMandENORMtoTurnOverShellElements
Tip20:ShellTypestoTry
Tip21:MovingaModelfromANSYSMechanicaltoANSYSLinear/Plus
Tip22:DeletingNodeswithNodalCoupling
Tip23:ConvergencewithShellFiniteElementModelsinNonlinearAnalysisunderANSYS
Tip24:WorkingwithLoadStepFilesinANSYS
Tip25:PlottingShellStressSurface,MidPlaneStress,LoadPaths,ESYSandRSYS
Tip26:NodalCoupling(CP)versusRigidRegion(CERIG)
Tip27:VibrationModeswithPrestress
Tip28:CreatingNewElementsbyCopyingorReflectingExistingStructure
Tip29:AddingtoaModelComprisedofElementsandNodesOnly
Tip30:ZeroMassBeamElementsFormRigidRegion
Tip31:TurnoffSymbolsWhenChangingaModelafterSolution
Tip32:Arethe"FreeFree"VibrationModesRelevant?
Tip33:SelectingaCADorFEASystemCoverYourself
Tip34:CreatingLinesPerpendicularto,oratAngletoExistingLines
Tip35:Usethe/UIcommandinYourANSYSToolbartoBringupGUIDialogBoxes
Tip36:ReactionForce,NodalForce,andLoadPaths
Tip37:InputtingTemperatureswithBF,BFE,andTUNIFinStructuralAnalysis
Tip38:ANSYSToolbarUse
Tip39:ANSYSPipingElementLengths
Tip40:GraphicalOutputfromANSYS
Tip41:CheckNodalLoadsatBolts,Rivets,SpotWeldsandLinks
Tip42:UseQUERYtoCheckResultswithPicking
Tip43:LoadsonGeometricEntitiesOverwriteLoadsonNodesandElementsEasyErrortoMake
Tip44:UseComponentsforLoadInput,andforResultsReview
Tip45:SimpleSubstructuringExamplesBottomUpandTopDown
Tip46:PlotAppliedTemperatures
Tip47:SkippingOverStatementsinanInputFile
Tip48:StaticAnalysisFollowedbyTransientAnalysis
Tip49:FileCompressionforModelStorage
Tip50:OrganizingLargeFEAModels
Tip51:SelectingNodesinaStressorStrainRange
Tip52:SelectingNodesthatareSubjectedtoNodalCoupling
Tip53:/NOPRand/GOPRSpeedUpInputFilesandMacros
Tip54:UsingCommandsIMMEDand/UISand/SHOW,OFF
Tip55:What'stheBauschingerEffect?CommentsonMaterialYield
Tip56:ThoughtExperiments
Tip57:ControlofMeshing
Tip58:FourViewPlot
Tip59:QuickReviewofModeShapes
Tip60:UsingANSYSHelp
Tip61:TheFEAJobHunt
Tip62:*VPUTandDESOL
Tip63:HowtoDivideOneElementTableColumnbyAnother
Tip64:ElementTables(ETABLE)andArraysAnExample
Tip65:ErrorEstimation,PowerGraphics,andERNORM
Tip66:ConcatenateandMeshLast
Tip67:ANSYSOutputofDatatoFilesforUsebyOtherPrograms
Tip68:WritingArrayColumnstoOutputortoFiles
Tip69:SynthesizingParameterNamesandManipulatingJobnamesandLongStringsinAPDL
Tip70:SolidElements95and92EfficiencyandInterconnection
Tip71:RadiansandDegrees

Tip1:UseAnnotations:
OnlyaonelinetitleispossibleontheANSYSscreenorplot.Considerablymoreinformationcanbeincludedinannotations
onthescreen.Theannotationsarekeptthroughallplotsuntiltheyaredeletedwiththecommand:/ANNOT,DELEorvia
pickingwiththegraphicaluserinterface(GUI).
AtthetopoftheAnnotationdialogbox,thereisalistboxfromwhichtheusercanchooseText,Lines,etc.,ondownto
Controls.Theseselectionsbringupdifferentmenus.TheControlsselectionoffersaSNAPsettingthatmakesitmucheasierto
getthetextalignednicely.(Hint:ANSYS,Inc.shouldputthisSNAPselectionupfrontunderText,orevenoneverymenu.)
ActivatetheSnapsetting,thengobacktoTexttoentertheannotations.
Tip2:MakingRoomforAnnotations:
The/PLOPTScommandcontrolswhatgoesintothelegendattheright(bydefault)sideoftheANSYSscreenandplot.Ifyou
turnoffLEG2(therelativelyuseless"view"information),youwillgetextraroomatthebottomofthelegend.Thisareacanbe
usedforannotationsifthenumberofcontourlevelsinstressplotsisnottoogreat(thedefaultisfine).
Tip3:UsingParametersinAnnotations:
Justasinatitlecreatedwiththecommand/TITLE,ANSYSpermitstheuseofaparameterinanannotation,asdiscussedin
theCommandsManualdescriptionofthe/TLABLEcommand.WhentypingtheannotationusingtheGUI,includethe
parameterinpercentsignslikethis:%pname%wherepnameistheparametername.Theparametercancontaineither
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numbersortext.Thevalueoftheparameterwillbeplottedintheannotationstring.TheANSYSfunctionNINTcanbeusedto
roundanumberthenearestinteger,sometimesimprovingtheappearanceoftheannotationforlargenumbersinwhichthe
fractionalpartisirrelevant(e.g.NINT(123.456789)=123).Forthis,theparametricexpressionshouldbeenclosedinpercent
signs.AnnotationsareusuallycreatedintheGUI,butcanbeenteredwithcodelikethatshownbelow.Enteringasingle
annotationlinecontainingResult=%pname%generateslogfilecontentssuchas:
!Thefollowingcommandsplaceanannotationonthescreen.
!Forinformationonly.Useatyourownrisk.
!Inthisexample,"pname"isaparameterwithanumericalvaluesuchas123.456789
/ANUM,0,1,1.2303,.74699
/TSPEC,15,.600,1,0,0
/TLAB,1.010,.747,Result=%pname%

Thelastlineintheaboveexamplecontainsthestringthattheusertypesmanually.Theotherdatasetupthestringpositioning
onthescreen,andthepropertiesofthecharacters.ToapplytheNINTfunctiontotheparameter,manuallyenterResult=
%NINT(pname)%astheannotation:
!Forinformationonly.Useatyourownrisk.
!Typetheannotationinoneline,sothelogfilecontains:
/ANUM,0,1,1.2303,.74699
/TSPEC,15,.600,1,0,0
/TLAB,1.010,.747,Result=%NINT(pname)%

Thebeautyofdoingthisisthatifthevalueoftheparameterpnameshouldchange,thenwhenthenextplotcommandis
executed,theannotationwillautomaticallyupdatetoreflectthenewvalue!Tryit:aftercreatinganannotationonthescreen
thatincludesaparameter,changetheparameter'svalue,thendoa/REPLOT.Runningamacrocouldgetinformationthatgoes
intotheparameterthata/REPLOTwillautomaticallyputitonthescreen.Thismakesitpossibletoautomaticallyincludefar
moreinformationthancangointothetitle,andtodoitforaseriesofautomaticallygeneratedplotsorgraphs.
Tip4:UseSmallAnnotations:
Thedefaultcharactersizesettingforanannotationis1.ThesizeofanannotationcanbedecreasedusingtheGUI.Asizeof
0.6isquitereadableandpermitsfarmoreinformationtobepackedintoaplot.Notethatthereisalimittothenumberof
characterspossibleonanannotationlinethisisindependentofcharactersize.
Tip5:MathematicalFunctionsAvailable:
UndertheHelplistingforthe*SETcommandthereappearslistsofmathematicalfunctionsavailableinANSYS.Anotherlist
isintheANSYSUser'sGuideonAPDL.NotethatbydefaulttrigonometriccalculationsaredoneinRadians,notDegrees.
Thereisafunction*AFUNthatcanbedonetochoosewhethertoworkinRadiansorDegrees.Thecommandsareusable
anywhere.Theyinclude:
ABS(X)

Absolutevalue

ACOS(X)

ArcCosine

ASIN(X)

ArcSin

ATAN(X)

ArcTangent

ATAN2(X,Y)

ArcTangentof(Y/X)withthesignofeachcomponentconsidered(seea
FORTRANmanualifyoudon'tknowwhatthismeans.)

COS(X)

Cosine

COSH(X)

Hyperboliccosine

EXP(X)

Exponential

GDIS(X,Y)

RandomsampleofGaussiandistributionswhereXisthemean,andYisthe
standarddeviation.MightbeusedinaMonteCarloSimulationtoexplorethe
distributionofoutputsbasedonrandomizedloadingsandmaterialproperties.
Foranexplanation,seeagoodmodernengineeringdesigntextbook.

LOG(X)

Naturallog(tobasee)

LOG10(X)

Log(tobase10)

MOD(X,Y)

Modulus(X/Y),itreturnstheremainderofX/Y.IfY=0,returnszero(0)

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NINT(X)

Nearestinteger(niceforoutputsofstressesto/TITLEorannotations(seeTip
3above))

RAND(X,Y)

Randomnumber,whereXisthelowerbound,andYistheupperbound.
(UsefulforMonteCarloSimulation,etc.)

SIGN(X,Y)

AbsolutevalueofXwithsignofY.Y=0resultsinpositivesign.

SIN(X)

Sine

SINH(X)

Hyperbolicsine

SQRT(X)

Squareroot.

TAN(X)

Tangent

TANH(X)

HyperbolicTangent

Note:
Thefunctionformofthe*GETcommandscanalsobeusedtogetinformationfromthemodelseetheAPDLguide
mentionedaboveforalistingofavailablefunctions.TheAPDLguidealsogivesfunctionstoretrievethevaluesof
parameters,bothnumericalandcharacter.The*VFUNcommandhasalistoffunctionsthatactonanarrayentry.The
CommandsmanuallistsfunctionsthatactonElementTablesinthesection"POST1CommandforElementTable".
Creativelyused,thearrayandETABLEalgebracommandscanbesurprisinglypowerful.
Tip6:Start16BitApplicationsbeforeStartingANSYSunderWindowsNT:
Ithasbeenmyexperiencethatsomelargecommercial16bitapplicationswillnotstartproperlywhenANSYSisalready
running.IfyoustartthembeforelaunchingANSYS,therewillbenoproblem.Ifyouintendtoworkwiththose16bit
applicationsintheforegroundwhiletheANSYSSOLVEisrunninginthebackground,thiswillbeausefultip.Ihaveseen
otherapplicationsstartupveryslowly(e.g.InternetExplorer)orwaituntilANSYSwasdonebeforeproceeding(setup.exefor
manyWindowsinstallprograms).
Tip7:RunningANSYSatLowPriorityunderWindowsNT4.0:

SettingProcessPriorityinNT

UnderWindowsNT4.0theprioritylevelof
individualprocessescanbeuseradjusted.Todo
this,bringuptheTaskManager(rightclickon
theWindowsNTtaskbar),andclickthetabfor
"Processes".Rightclickontheprocesstitled
"ANSYS.EXE",and"SetPriority>"comesup.
Setthepriorityto"Low"tohelpmake
foregroundapplicationsrunmoresmoothlywhile
ANSYSisrunningSOLVEinthebackground.
ThismayhelpmoreifyouhavealargeRAMin
thecomputer.
WhenANSYShascompletedtheSOLVE
process,returnthepriorityto"Normal"sothat
ANSYSisnotsloweddownwhenyoustart
doingplotsthroughtheGUI.
Tip8:Operatingon(Scaling)Loads:
Youcanoperateonloadsonnodesandelements
inordertoscalethemupordown.Unfortunately,
scalingloadsongeometricentities(keypoints,
lines,areasandvolumes)seemsnottobe
available.Ifanyloadonyourstructurehasbeen
appliedtoageometricentity,ratherthandirectly
toelementsornodes,thatloadwillbetransferredtotheelementsandnodesatsolutiontime.Thetransferwilloverwriteany
scalingofloadsthatyouhaveapplied.(GuesshowIfiguredthisout!)
Sowhatcanyoudoaboutthis?Method1:Transfertheloadingfromgeometricentitiestotheelementsandnodes,thenwritea
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loadstepfile.Thisrecordsloadingonelementsandnodes.Deletetheloadingongeometricentities,thenreadtheloadstepfile
thatwasjustwritten.Nowtheloadingcanbescaledupordownfreely.Method2:Forafastermethod,seethe
"LSCLEAR,SOLID"command,whichwillnotrequirewritingaloadstepfile.Method3:Transfertheloadingfromgeometric
entitiestotheelementsandnodes,thendeletetherelationshipbetweengeometryandtheFEAmeshwiththe
MODMSH,DETAcommand.Method4:Transferloadingfromgeometricentitiestotheelementsandnodes,thenunselectthe
geometricentities,beforeexecutingSOLVE.Theelementandnodeloadingcanbescaledafterithasbeentransferredfrom
geometricentities.AnunselectedgeometricentitywillnottransferitsloadingtoelementsornodeswhenSOLVEisexecuted.
Warnings:Method3ruinstherelationshipbetweengeometryandthemesh.Savethemodelunderanappropriatefilename
beforeexecutingMODMSH,DETA.Method4isfine,aslongasyoudonotforgetandreselectthegeometricentities
ALLSELwilldothis.
Scalingdisplacements(nodalconstraintvalues)isalsopossible.Onethingthathasnotworkedformeisanattempttoreduce
applieddisplacementstozerobyusing0.0asthescalingfactor.Whatdidworkformewastouse"_TINY"asavalue,which
multiplieddisplacementsbyafactorofroughly10^(31)andreducedloadstovirtuallyzero.Attemptstouse0.0asthefactor
resultedinNOchangetotheapplieddisplacements.
Tip9:RampingLoadsDowntoZero:
Ifyouarerampingforce,pressure,andaccelerationloadsupanddownaspartofananalysis,youmaywanttoreturnloadsto
zero.IdothiswhenIwanttoinspectpermanentdeformationthatresultsfromplasticyielding.Ifyoudeletetheappliedload,
theloadingwilldropimmediatelytozero,evenifyouhaveloadrampingturnedon.Thethingtodoistosettheloadingto
virtuallyzeroorthescalingfactortovirtuallyzero,notdeletetheload.ItisimportanttoappreciatethattoANSYS,reducinga
loadtonearlyzeroisnotthesamethingasdeletingit(zeroingit),forthepurposesoframpingloads.Thetimesubstepsizesto
usewilldependonyourmodel.
Settingdisplacementstozeroornearzerois,ofcourse,verydifferentfromdeletingconstraints.
Tip10:StartingANSYSGraphsatt=0
Graphsstartatthefirstdatapoint,whichmeansthatifyoudoatimehistorytrace,youdon'tgetat=0datapoint.Ifyouleave
timeas0.0ontheTIMEcommand,yougetthedefault1.0inyouroutput.TheonlywaytogetagraphfromzerothatIhave
foundistodoafirstloadstepwith"t"extremelysmall,incomparisontoothertimesintheanalysis,e.g.t=0.0000001.The
loadatthistimemustbeappropriatesothattheresponserampsupcorrectly.(Ifyourintentwastorampupfromzeroload,just
leavetheloadsaszero.)Thenextloadstepcontinuesasusual.
Tip11:PressureonLines:
Applyingpressureonalineresultsinloadsbeingappliedtothenodesassociatedwiththatline.Theloadsonthenodesthatthe
FEAprogramapplieswillbeappropriategiventheformulationoftheelements.Ifyouwanttoapplyatotalforcetotheline,
youcanusea*GETcommandtofindthelengthoftheline,thendividetheforcebythelengthandusetheresultasthe
pressure.
Notethatpressureonalineactsintheplaneoftheareathatisattachedtotheline.Iftwoareasareattachedat90degreesor
anotherangle,twoloadsaresetup,actingineachoftheareaplanedirections.Youcanuseselectlogicontheareastogetsome
interestingeffectsastothedirectioninwhichtheappliedforcesact,butonlyifbothareasaremeshed,andtheelementsare
selected.Ifyouunselectoneoftheareas,pressureonthelinewillonlybeexertedinthedirectionoftheareathatisselected.
TheselectlogicmuststillbeinplacewhenyouSOLVE,orelseyourcarefullycraftedloadcasecanbeoverwritten.Asabove,
transferringloadsfromgeometricentitiestonodesandelements,writingthemasaloadstep,deletingalltheloadson
geometricentities,andreadingintheloadstepwillprotectyourloadcase,andmakescalingtheloadspossible.Alternatively,
considerthe"LSCLEAR,SOLID"command.
NOTE:PressuresonsurfacesfollowthedeformedshapeduringaLargeDisplacement(geometricallynonlinear)analysis.
Forcesonnodesmaintaintheirorientationinspace,evenunderLargeDisplacement.Thisdifferencewillgovernhowloads
shouldbeappliedinsomemodels.
Tip12:RampingSomeLoads,NotOthers:
Toholdsomeloadsconstantandrampupordownothers,runafirstloadstepwithalltheloadsattheirstartingvalues,
rampingfromzeroonlyifappropriate.
Ifyouwant,useanextremelysmallvalueontheTIMEcommand,e.g.0.0000001,andrunthisasafirstloadstep.Thensetup
asecondloadstep,withrampingactivated.Changethoseloadstoberampedfromtheirstartingvaluestonewvalues.Holdthe
otherloadsconstant.TheTIMEcommandcanbeusedwithanewvalue,suchas1.0.
Anexampleistheapplicationofagravityloadbeforeotherloadsaretoberampedupfromzero.Insomecases,thiscould
giveamorerealisticassessmentofnonlinearbucklingcausedbyappliedforcesotherthangravityloading.(Youwillwantto
checkthecodesthatregulateyourdesignworkbeforedecidingonthis.CodesthatIhaveseenweregenerallystartedbefore
FEAwaswidelyavailable,anddonotaddressthisconcept.Findoutwhatisconsideredgoodpracticeinyourindustry.)
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Applyinggravityfirstcangivemuchbetterconvergencewhenassessingtheeffectofthermalexpansionmovingstructures
acrossfrictioncontactelements,wherethenormalloadonthecontactelementsiscausedbygravity.
IsuspectthatthisisnotpossiblewiththeArcLengthmethod.Ihavenotexperimentedwithit,butdonotseehowcontrolled
rampingofonlysomeloadscouldbeimplementedunderArcLengthcontrolofappliedloadinganyopinions?
Tip13:ForceandPressureonFlatPlatesorFlatShells
Thereisaruleofthumb,thatiftheoutofplanedeflectionofaflatplateorshellisgreaterthanhalfthethickness,then
membraneforcesstarttobecomesignificantinresistingtheappliedload.InANSYS,thiscallsforactivatingaLarge
Displacementsolution(a.k.a.geometricnonlinearity).Ignoringthiscanresultinyourdesignmissingoutoninherentstrength,
ORingrosslyinadequateunderdesign.Knowwhatyouaredoing.
Tip14:LinearandNonlinearBuckling:
Lineareigenvalue(classicalEuler)bucklingisa"quick"checkonastructure,buttheANSYSmanualsgotoconsiderable
painstopointoutthatinmanysituations,aLargeDisplacementsolution(geometricnonlinearity)needstoberunalsoasa
checkonthebucklingadequacyofadesign.Aswithlinearbuckling,nonlinearbucklingmayneedtobeassessedwithrespect
toanumberofloadcases.Insomestructures,adiagonaltensionfieldisdevelopedinaweb,andelasticbucklingfailuredoes
notdevelopatthefirsteigenvaluespredicted.Inotherstructures,bucklingfailuremayoccurbeforethefirsteigenvalue,and
onlynonlinearanalysiswillpredictthis.
Lineareigenvaluebucklinghastoassumethatgapandcontactelementsareeitherclosedandactive,oropenandinactive.
Nonlinearanalysiswillfollowtheeffectsoftheseelementsastheygoinandoutofcontact,whentheloadingisapplied.
AfteranyLargeDisplacementnonlinearelasticbucklinganalysis(ifitdoesn'tdiverge),seewhethertheelasticstresslimits
havebeenexceeded(thisincludesthesurfacesofshellelements,andbecarefulthatnodalaveragingdoesnothideanything).
Ifsignificantlyoverstressed,thestructuremaynotbeadequate.
CombinedbendingandaxialcompressioninabeamisaclassicplacewhereinadequacyinstrengthcanbepredictedinFEA
onlybyLargeDisplacementnonlinearanalysis(i.e.alinearanalysissaysitisOK,butanonlinearanalysisshowsitisNOT).
ForsomestructuresundergoingelasticLargeDisplacementanalysiswithoutcontactandgapelements,theusermaywantto
consideraSouthwellplot.
IfelasticstresslimitsareexceededintheLargeDisplacementmodel,itmaybedesirabletodoacombinedLarge
DisplacementandPlasticDeformationmodel.Ifthestructureisoverloaded,itmaybegintocollapse(perhapsonlylocally),
andtheArcLengthmethodmaybeneededforconvergencecontrol.Aneedtostrengthenthestructuremaybepredictedor
identified.Thematerialpropertiestouseareapplicationdomainandindustryspecificstartbytalkingtoyourcoworkers,
supervisor,andsuppliers.

Tip15:NonlinearAnalysisandtheArcLength
Method:
ThebasicwaytodononlinearanalysisinANSYS
istouseNRiterationandmanydefaultsettings.At
times,convergencewillbecomeaproblemI've
encounteredthiswithshellstructuresunder
compressivestresses.Thearclengthmethodcan
sometimescopebetterwithnonlinearsolutions,
becauseofitsabilitytofollowforcedeflection
curvesthatriseandfall.Bepreparedforlongrun
timesifyourmodelislarge.
Myexperiencewiththearclengthmethodisthat
initsdefaultsettingsforstepsizemultipliers,it
doesnotgivesatisfactoryresultswhen
compressingsomeshellbasedmodels.Whatmay
workistosetanumberoftimesubsteps,suchas
10,sothateachsubstepis1/10oftheloadstep.
SettheArcLengthmaximummultiplier
MAXARCto1.0sothatnosubstepslargerthan1/10oftheloadsteparetaken.SettheArcLengthminimummultiplier
MINARCto0.1,sothatthesmallestloadsubstepis1/100ofthefullloadstep.Ifoundthistohelpconsiderably.Youmay
wanttouseralargerorsmallerMINARCsetting,butmyexperiencetodatesuggeststhatoneshouldnotgetgreedywith
MAXARC.Obviously,youmaywanttoplaywiththenumberoftimesubsteps.
Thesolutionmaystilldivergebutitislikelythatyouwillgetmoreinformationthanwithoutarclengthanalysis.Youwillwant
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tosetaterminationconditionfortheanalysisifbucklingisexpectedtoresult.
Ifinditdesirabletosavetheresultsatevery
timesubstepwhendoingthistypeofanalysis
(ithelpstohavealargeharddrive)inorder
toreviewtheprocess.Whenyoureviewthe
resultsofasingleloadcaserununderArc
lengthcontrol,theTIMEvalueonthe
ANSYSplotsshowsthedecimalfractionof
thefullloadbeingappliedtothemodel.As
youmoveforwardthroughtheplots,ifthe
load/displacementcurveforthestructureis
falling,thedecimalfractionwillfall,even
thoughsomedisplacementsarevisibly
gettinglarger.
Asmentionedabove,somethingIhavenot
triedistogettheArclengthsolutioncontrol
torampsomeloadsandnotothers,byhaving
runapreliminaryloadstep.Isthiseven
possible?Ifnot,thentheusermayfacethe
prospectofgravitybeingrampedupand
down,inadditiontootherappliedloads,and
thephysicalrealismofthemodelmaybe
affected.
Tip16:AnimatingResultsfroma
NonlinearorOtherAnalysis:
Itcanbehelpfultowatchtheincreasingstresslevelsthatresultasanonlinearanalysisloadingisrampedup.Tocreatean
animation,firstrunyouranalysiswithloadsrampedup,andanumberofsubsteps.Haveallsubstepswrittentotheresultsfile.
Doastressplotofinteresttosetthetypeofstressplottobeanimatedbythemacrothatwillberun.MaketheANSYS
Graphicswindowassmallasyouwanttheanimationwindowtoappear(mostscreenswillhavelowerresolutionthanaCAD
workstation),keepingtheaspectratiocorrect.Smallergraphicswindowsresultinsmalleranimationfiles,ifsizematters.
AnimationfilesunderWindowsNT(AVIfiles)fromANSYSoftencompressverywellforstoragepurposes.UsethePlotCtrls
menuselectionontheUtilityMenu,andchooseAnimatetogetasubmenuofchoices.Choose"DynamicResults"tocreatean
animationofyoursavedloadsubstepresultswiththetimeshowninthelegend.Thisseemstoworkonlyforthelastloadstep
(readtheANSYSmacro).TheresultingAVIfilecanbeviewedwiththemediaplayer,distributed,putonawebsite,andsoon.
Themediaplayercanbesteppedmanuallyforslowviewing.Itmakesiteasiertowatchthechangingstresspatternor
deformationasnonlineareffectstakeoverthemodel.
Inanimatingachangingstressorothercontourplot,youmaywishtospecifythecontourlevelsbeforegeneratingthe
animationfile.Viewtheloadsteporsubstepwiththeworstresultsaspartofdecidingwheretosetthecontourlevels.
IhavenotfoundthatanyoftheANSYSsuppliedanimationmacrosdotheonesimplestthingIwant.UsuallyIwantto
animateeverysubstepofeveryloadstepstoredintheresultsfile.Thefollowingsimplemacrodoesthisformeunder
WindowsNT.Thereisvirtuallynoerrorcheckinginthismacro.Notethatthissimplemacrodoesnotupdateelementtable
dataateachframe.Consequentlyitwillnotworkproperlyforplotsofelementtabledata.Ifstresses,strains,orotherdatawith
amplitudeinformationaretobeplotted,theusermaywanttofixthecontourmaplevelsaheadoftime.Theuserwillwantto
setthedisplacementamplitudescalingwith/DSCALEinadvanceautomaticscalingwillnotbesatisfactory.Ingeneral,it
maynotbesatisfactorytohave/ZOOM,OFFactive,sincetheviewwillchangeifplotsofsignificantdeflectionareincludedin
theanimation.Manuallysettingaviewmayyieldabetteranimation.Modifythismacroasyouwish.
Thismacromustbecalledfromwithin/POST1.Thefilethatcontainstheresultsmusthavealreadybeenselected,anda
prototypeplotcommandexecutedsothatcalling/REPLOTwillgeneratethetypeofplottheuserwants:
!
!MY_ANIM.MACAquickanddirtyanimationofallofthesubsteps
!
!Forinformationonly.Useatyourownrisk.
!Usermustindicatehowmanyframesaretobeanimated
!Thismacrostartswiththefirstsubstepintheresultsfile
!byusingtheSET,FIRSTcommandinternally
!UserimplicitlyindicateshowmanytimestousetheSET,NEXTcommand.
!ThenumberofframesneededmustexistintheRSTfile,elseerrors.
!NOTE:ThisdoesNOTworkforplotsofdatainanelementtable.
!Plottingelementtableresultswouldrequireamacroinwhich
!theelementtableresultsareupdatedateachsubstep.
!
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!VirtuallyNOErrorCheckingIsPerformed!!!!!
!
!Whatwillbeplottedisbasedon/REPLOTtherefore,onthelastuserplotexecuted
!beforethismacroiscalled.
!Scaling,etc.areallbasedonthelastuserplot.OnlytheSETvalueisupdated.
!
!Callwith:
!
!my_anim,time_delay_for_frame,number_of_frames_including_first
!
ar11=arg1
*if,arg1,eq,0,then
ar11=0.1
*endif
*if,arg2,ne,0,then
/NOPR
/gsav,xxx,gsav,,temp
/seg,delete
/seg,multi,,ar11
set,first
/replot
*do,_iii,1,arg21,1
set,next
/replot
*enddo
/seg,off
anim,1,1,ar11
/gres,xxx,gsav
/gopr
*endif

AnalternativetothismacrocouldstepthroughallsubstepsontheRSTfilebyusinga*GETcommandofthetype
*GET,NTOTAL,ACTIVE,0,SOLU,NCMSStocheckthenumberofsubstepsastheSET,NEXTcommandisissued.The
parameterNTOTALwillberesetto1whentheanimationiscomplete,andthe*IFand*EXITcommandscancheckthisand
breakoutofadoloopseeTip59belowfortheexampleofautomaticallyplottingallmodeshapes.Theuserwouldthennot
needtospecifythenumberofsubstepstoplot,improvingtheautomation,andlettingthesolverusevariablesubstepsizes
withouttheuserhavingtocheckonthenumberofsubstepsthatresulted.
Tip17:GettingtheMassorWeightofaModel:
Areaderhasbeenhelpfulbypointingpointoutthatmass(orweight,dependingonyourunits)ofkeypoints,lines,areas,or
volumesinamodelcanberetrieved,whenattributeshavebeenassignedtotheseentities,byusingcommandsavailablein
/PREP7.Usingthegraphicaluserinterface,enterinto"PreprocessorOperateCalcGeometricItems"toseethechoices:"Of
Keypoints,OfLines,OfAreas,OfVolumes,OfGeometry".Theseitemsexecutethe"sum"commands:"KSUM,LSUM,
ASUM,VSUM,GSUM"respectively.Ifnoattributeshavebeenassignedtothegeometricentities,unitdensitiesareassumed
inreportingmassandcenterofgravityinformation.Aftertheexecutionofthesecommands,the*GETcommandcanbeused
toassigntoavariabletheimpliedvolumeofanarea(basedonthethicknessassociatedwithitsattributes)orthevolumeofa
"volume".Thevolumeofaseriesofareasor"volumes"canalsoberetrievedwiththe*GETcommandaftera"sum"command
isused.The*VGETcommandcanalsobeused,whereappropriate,inretrievinginformationmadeavailableafteroneofthe
"sum"commandsisexecuted.
Forsomeunstatedreason,ANSYSwillnotdirectlygivethetotalweightormassofamodel(retrievedfromthemassmatrices
oftheelements),excepttoprintittooutputduringthesolutionofaproblem.Theusercanrunapartialsolveinordertoget
thisweightormassprintedreasonablyquickly.InImperialunits,itmaybedesirabletoconvertbetweenpoundsmassand
poundsweight.Thereisno*GETcommandthatdirectlyreturnstheweightofselectedelements.However,thevolumeofan
elementcanbereturned,andthevolumeofasetofelementscanbeputintoanelementtable,andsummed.
Youcangettheweightofmanymodelsintoaparameterby:stepthroughallmaterialtypes,selectingelementsforeach
materialtype.Getthevolumeofthoseelements,andmultiplybythedensityofthatmaterialtype.Sumthemassesorweights
ofallthematerialtypes.Thiswillnotincludeaddedmassandmasselementsatnodes(checkthiscarefullyagainsttheoutput
massinthesolvemodule)orotherthingsthatImaynothavethoughtof.
Ofcourse,youcangettheweight(assumingyougavedensitiesinthematerialdefinitions)byremovingallloads(don'tlet
thermalexpansion,nodalrigidregion,nodalcoupling,variousgapandcontactelements,orloadsonconstrainednodestrip
youupusetheminimalconstraintsneededtostabilizeallbodiesin3D),applying1gvertical,havingconstraintsonvertical
motion,runningSOLVEinalinearanalysis,andfindingtheverticalreactionforce.Insucharun,acombinationoftheFSUM
(selectverticallyrestrainednodesonly,withallattachedelements)and*GETcommandsin/POST1mighthelpyoutogetthe
weightintoavariable.However,apartialsolvewillgivetheanswermorequickly(butnotputitintoavariable).Depending
onyoursystemofunits,remember,youmaywanttoconvertbetweenweightandmass.
Ibasemycomment,abouttheinabilityofANSYStodirectlyreturntheweightofthemodelwith*GET,oncommentsinthe
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manualsonOptimization.Theoptimizationexamplesworktoreducemodelvolume,notweight.
Tip18:UsingFncCallsfromMacros:
Beforeusingmacrosforthefirsttime,readaboutthe*USEcommandintheANSYSHelpmanual,inadditiontoother
relevantpartsoftheANSYSmanuals.The*USEcommandhelpdiscussesthemacrocallingparametersandtheirlocalscope.
NoteaslightdifferenceincallingparametersAR19andAR20whenthe*USEformofamacrocallisused,versusthe
"unknowncommand"form.
TherearetimeswhencallsfrommacrosdirectlytotheFunctionformofanANSYScommandwillbetheonlywaytogetthe
functioncalledwithpicking.Itmaybedesirabletosenttheuseramessagethatexplainswhythepickinghasbeenrequested.
Thefunctionmustbecalledwiththeexactuseofuppercaseandlowercasecharacters.Anexample:Fnc_ENSYMwillwork,
whereasfnc_ENSYMwillnot,becausethecapitalFismissing.
Tip19:UseENSYMandENORMtoTurnOverShellElements:
ANSYShastwocommands,ENSYMandENORM,forreorientingshellelementssothatasetofshellelementscanallhave
their"top"surfacefacethesameway.Thismakesapplicationofpressure,contactelements,andreviewofresultsmore
feasible.ThisorientationshouldbedonebeforerunningSOLVEtheresultsarenotreorientedinthedatabasewhenthese
commandsareapplied,norintheresultsfile,soiftheelementsarereorientedafterSOLVE,thestressresultswillnolonger
applytothecorrectshellsurfacesandameaninglessmesswillresult.Thesecommandsworkwithshellelementsthatare
attachedtoareas,aswellaswithindependentshellelements.Note:Ifyoucleartheelementsattachedtoanarea,thenremesh,
thenewelementswillhavethesameorientationasthearea.(Hint:ANSYSoughttodothisreorientationforAreas,makingit
easiertopressurizetheinteriorsofcontainersdefinedwithshellelements.)
SeeHELP,ENSYMforinformationonwhatthiscommandwilldo.ENSYMcanbeusedto"flipover"ashellelementsothat
theoppositeside(ToporBottom)isshowing.TodothiswouldrequirereversingthenodeorderinthedatabasesothatFace1
(Bottom)andFace2(Top)getswitched.
Formorepowerfulcapabilitiesinreorientingshellelements,seeHELP,ENORM.Thiscommandwillsearchoutwardfroma
chosenelementthattheuserconsiders"correct",reorientingaconnectedsetofshellelementssothattheyfacethe"same
way"(thistakessomeinterpretation),evenworkingaroundcorners.Itsearcheselementsfromtheselectedsetofelements,
untilithitstheedgeofthemodel,oruntiltwoormoreelementsareattachedtooneelementedge.Theusershouldexperiment
withthiscommandinordertounderstandexactlywhatitdoes,andinspectthemodelthoroughlyafterENORMisapplied,to
verifythattheresultsareasdesired.ThecorrectuseofENORMcanmaketheapplicationofpressureorcontactelementstoa
complexmodelsubstantiallyeasier.
ItwouldbeveryhelpfulifANSYShadaspecialcommandthatwouldplotshellelementswiththesidescoloredaccordingto
whethertheywereFACE1orFACE2oftheelement.Thiscommandcouldbeextendedtocolorthe(upto)sixsidesofsolid
elements,accordingtotheirfacenumber.Asimilarcommandforplottingareaswouldhelp,too.Itcouldevenbedonefor
beamsdisplayedwith/ESHAPEshowingtheouterenvelope.Atpresent,withANSYS5.3runningonWindowsNT,Iget
differentcolorsforFace1andFace2ofshellelementswhenPowerGraphicsisON,and"NoNumbering"plus"Colors"or
"ColorsandNumbers"hasbeenchosenunderPlotCtrls,Numbering.Ihavenotseenthisdocumented.Thisdoesnothappenfor
areas,orforsolidelements.
Tip20:ShellTypestoTry:
IhaveusedShell63(forElastic),Shell43(forPlastic),Shell93(8Node,forElastic&Plastic),Shell143(forPlastic),and
Shell181(forPlastic).TheRevision5.4forANSYSwillincludeabugfixforaShell181problem.Shell143isnolonger
supported,butisstillembedded(hidden)inRevision5.3ofANSYSforcompatibilityreasons.
IhaverecentlyfoundShell93tobeusefulinmodelingsomecurvedstructures,becauseofitsabilitytofollowcurvedsurfaces.
(Shell63elementsareflat,andcanmakeamessofageneralcurvedsurfaceunderfreemeshing.)Shell93gavemegood
convergenceforbothelasticandplasticLargeDisplacement(nonlineargeometric)analysis.Itdoesnotliketofollowtoolarge
anangleofcurvaturewithoneelement,sothenumberofelementsonanareafilletcanbelarge.Settheanglesubtendedby
Shell93elementsduringmeshingtoavaluethatissmallenoughtoavoidwarningmessages.Watchoutforaspectratio
warnings.(Lackofwarningsisnotacompleteguaranteeofacceptableelementshapes.)Ifthestructurehaspressurizedflat
surfaces,Shell93oftenconvergesbetterwhenstressstiffeningisactivatedforLargeDisplacementanalysis.Stressstiffening
forShell93isactivatedatthesolutionphaseoftheanalysis,whereasShell63is(apparently)onlystressstiffenedbysetting
oneoftheKEYOPTvalues.(IhaveobtaineddifferentLargeDisplacementconvergenceswithShell63withnostress
stiffeningset,withtheKEYOPTstressstiffeningset,withstressstiffeningsetin/SOLU,andwithstressstiffeningsetinboth
places.)LikeShell63,Shell93alsohasthevirtueofbeingsupportedbytheLinear/PlusversionofANSYSforLarge
Displacementelasticanalysis,somodelscanbemovedbackandforth.
WhenforcingmappedmeshingofcurvesidedShell93elementsonaplaneareabyconcatenatingperimeterlines,Ihave
occasionallyhadmidsidenodescreated,intheinteriorofthearea,suchthattherewastoomuchelementcurvaturedistortion
intheplaneoftheelement.Onefixistohavetheelementscreatedwiththesidesstraight,whichistolerableiftheelementsare
flat,andifitdoesnotcausetroubleontheperimeteroftheplaneareabeingmeshed."Trouble"heremeanspoorrepresentation
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ofcurvedboundariesotherelementsontheseboundariesmayneedtocurvetofollowcurvedsurfaces,oritmaybedesiredto
haveacurvedfittoanoutsideedge.Ifflatelementsidescausetroubleontheperimeter,thenstartbymeshingareasonthe
othersideoftheperimeterwithelementsthathavecurvedsidestheseelementscouldevenbetriangular.Next,meshthearea
ofinterestwiththeelementssidessetstraight,thenclearthesurroundingareas,ifthesurroundingareasarenotintendedtobe
meshed,orneedbetterelementshapecontrol.Thiswillleavetheplaneareaofinterestmeshedwithelementsthathavestraight
edgesintheinterior,andcurvededgesontheperimeter.Thisisillustratedbythefollowingimagesofanintentionallyextreme
example.Inthefirstimage,alineplotofelementedgesshowsextremedistortionintheplane.Anintendedholeismeshed
withtriangles.AlltheseelementsareShell93,havingmidsidenodes.

Inthesecondimage,meshingwithmidsidenodespositionedonstraightlinesisbeingchosen.

Inthethirdimage,theconsequenceofmeshingthepartwithstraightsidedelementsisshown.Theelementsattheholehavea
curvedside,becausetheholeisalreadymeshedwithcurvedsidedelements.

Inthefourthimage,theelementsborderingtheholeareshown,aftertheholehasbeenclearedofelements.Theelement
curvatureattheholeisvisible.Theinterioroftheplaneareaismeshedwithstraightsidedelements.Thesameproblemanda
similarfixcanbeencounteredwithmidsidenodedSOLID95brickelementsthathave20nodes.Thesurfaceareasofa
volumecanbemeshedwith8nodeSHELL93elementswithcurvature,thenthevolumemeshedwithSOLID95elementswith
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thesidesstraight,thentheshellelementsontheareasremovedwiththeACLEARcommand.Thiswillleavethevolume
meshedwithSOLID95elementsthatarecurvedonthesurfaceareas,butwithstraightsidesintheinterior.Therearerare
occasionswhenthiswilleliminateelementdistortionwarningmessages.

Tip21:MovingaModelfromANSYSMechanicaltoANSYSLinear/Plus:
BecauseversionsofANSYSsellfordifferentprices,acompanymayownoneversiontobeusedfornonlinearmodels,and
severallicensesforlinearwork,orjustformodelcreationandresultsreview.Occasionally,amodelwillbemoved"down"
fromafullerversionofANSYStotheLinear/Plusversion.
AusercanrunintodifficultymovingamodelfromANSYSMechanical(orANSYSStructural,etc.)tothelessexpensive
ANSYSLinear/Plus.TheLinear/Plusversionlimitsthenumberofnodesallowed.Unfortunately,itimplementsthiscontrolby
notallowingnodenumbersthatexceedalimitingvalue.Thismeansthatcompressionofnodenumbers(andelementnumbers)
mayberequiredinordertogetlargermodelstobeacceptedbyANSYSLinear/Plus.Otherwise,theprogramquitswithoutan
opportunitytocompressthenumbering(morerecentANSYSversionsmaybemoretolerant,butthenumberingwillhavetobe
compressedatsomepoint).
Whenthenodeandelementnumbersarecompressed,coordinationofloadingwiththenumberingexpressedinloadstepfiles
islost.ThewayaroundthisthatIhaveusedistoreadintheoriginaldatabase,readinaloadstepfile,compressthe
numbering,andwritetheloadstepfile.Theprocess,readingintheoriginaldatabase,mustberepeatedforeveryloadcase(a
macrocouldbewrittentoautomatethis.)Finally,theoriginaldatabaseisreadin,numberingiscompressed,andthenew
databaseiswritten.
UnsupportedelementtypescannotbeusedinANSYSLinear/Plusneithercantoolargeawavefront(canthePCGsolverget
aroundthis?).Theunsupportedelementsneedtobedeletedorchangedbeforemovingthemodel(e.g.changeSHELL181to
SHELL63).Then,ifthenumberofentitiesdoesnotexceedANSYSLinear/Pluslimitations,thedatabasecanbemovedtothe
otherprogram.
ThenextprobleminmovingmodelstoANSYSLinear/Plus,isthatnonlinearmaterialmodelsmustbedeletedinANSYS
Mechanical(Structural,etc...)beforemovingthedatabasetoANSYSLinear/Plus.ThisisbecausetheANSYSLinear/Plus
programwillcomplainthatthematerialnonlinearityisincluded,butnotacceptthecommandstodeleteit(Hint:ANSYS
shouldaddthisdeletefunctiontoLinear/Plus.)Ofcourse,Ifoundallthisoutthehardway.
Onrareoccasions,amodelfromamorerecentversionofANSYSmaybemovedbacktoanearlierANSYSversion.IfIGES
isnotsatisfactory,ausercoulduseCDWRITEtowriteouttheelementandnodemodelandothermodeldatatoafile(theDB
option),thenmanuallycleanupthefilesothattheearlierversionofANSYScouldacceptit.Thisincludesmodifying
commandsforelementcreation,afterdeducingwhatformatisneeded.WritingtheelementdatawithEWRITEthencutting
andpastingwiththeCDWRITEfilemaybeeasierIhaven'ttriedit.Auserwrittenprogramcanexpeditecleanupforalarge
model.
Tip22:DeletingNodesthathaveNodalCoupling:
Whendeletingasetofnodesforwhichsomeweremembersofcouplednodesets,deletethecouplingequationsBEFORE
deletingthenodes.Otherwise,unwantedcouplingequationsmaybeactiveifyoucreatemorenodes.Thecouplingequations
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arenotautomaticallydeletedwhenthenodesaredeletedisthisabug?Selectthenodestobedeleted,thendeletenode
couplingequationsforwhichanynodesareselected,thendeletethenodes.(Youwillhavehadtofirstdeletetheelements.)
Clearingsolidmodelentitiesisthesameasdeletingtheelementsandnodessimultaneously.
Ifinditveryhelpfultoturnonthesymbolsfornodalcouplingwhencheckingforproperuseofthesedetails.
Tip23:ConvergencewithShellFEAModelsinNonlinearAnalysisunderANSYS:
First,rememberthattherearethreebasickindsofnonlinearity:(1)LargeDisplacement(geometricallynonlinear)analysis,and
(2)PlasticMaterialpropertiesaretheobvioustypes.Inaddition,nonlinearsolutionsoccur(3)whennonlinearelementssuchas
gapelements,hookelements,andsurfacecontactelementsareused.Becauseof(3)itisclearertorefertoa"linear"analysisas
"smalldisplacementelastic",since"linear"maybeperceivedasmeaningthattherearenononlinearelementspresent.A
nonlinearanalysiswilltakelonger,usuallyconsiderablylonger,thanalinearanalysis.Foralargefiniteelementmodel,ithelps
tohaveacomputerwithanextremelyfastCPU,largeRAM,largeharddrive,andfastharddrivedatatransfer(highspeed
SCSImayhelponPC's)fornonlinearanalysis.
InANSYS,theShell63elementwilldoLargeDisplacement,butisNOTcapableofmaterialnonlinearity(plasticity).Shell
43,Shell143,andShell181arecapableofbothLargeDisplacementandmaterialnonlinearity.Thesefourelementsare4node
quadelements.ANSYSalsohasan8nodeshellelement,Shell93.TheShell93elementiscapableofbothLarge
Displacementandmaterialnonlinearity.Shell93hastheadvantagethatitcanfollowacurvedsurface.Therearealsoshell
elementsforcompositematerialsandforPelementsolutions.Iwillrestrictmycommentstothebasicshellelements:63,43,
143,181,and93.
Theelementsshouldhaveacceptableaspectratios,notberidiculouslylargeorsmall,notbepathologicallydeformed,andnot
generatewarningsaboutbeingwarped.Ifwarpedquadelementsareunavoidableduringmeshing,itmaybedesirabletouse
eithersmalltriangles,ortheShell93element.NotethatwithintheANSYSmanuals,highorderelementsarenotconsideredto
beidealfornonlinearwork.However,IseemtohavehadsomesuccesswiththeShell93element(can'tsayiftheresultswere
ideallyaccurate).Youcanevaluatethemodelquicklybydoingapartialsolve(PartialSoluintheGUI),onlygeneratingthe
elementmatrices,andgettingwarnings(ifany)andotherinformationintheANSYSOutputwindow.
IfaLargeDisplacementsolutionischosen,somesolutionsareimprovedbysettingStressStiffeningbeforerunningthesolve
process.Stressstiffeningforelements63,43,143,and181can(apparently)onlybesetwithoneoftheKEYOPTvalues
(Keyopt(2))fortheelement(seeOptionswhenusingAdd/Edit/DeletetoaddelementtypeswiththeGUI).Somebeam
elementsarelikethis,too.Itapparently(Ifindthemanualsdifficulttointerpretonthis)canNOTbesetwithintheSolve
module,eventhoughtheGUIhasaselectionboxforStressStiffening.However,Iseemtohavehadconvergencedifferences
withShell63withstressstiffeningsetandnotsetinthesolvemodule.ForShell93,stressstiffeningISsetwithintheSolve
module,bychoosingitunderAnalysisOptionsintheGUI(SSTIF).Theuseofstressstiffeningforconvergenceimprovement
iscontraindicatedbysomeconditionssuchasthesubstantialuseofnodalcouplingornodalconstraintequations...seethe
ANSYSmanualsonthis.NotethatSSTIFisNOTthesamethingasthecommandPSTRES.
Asecondthingthathelpsmanynonlinearsolutions(bothLargeDisplacementandplastic)toconvergewhensubstepsare
beingusedistoactivatethePredictor(PRED)intheSolvemodule.(Thismaybemoreofahindrancethanahelpwhengap
andothernonlinearelementswillbechangingstatusfrequently.)
Thereareothersettingsthatcanbetriedwhenattemptsatconvergencearenotworking.Iusuallysticktolettingtheprogram
decidehowtouseNewtonRaphsoniterationandadaptivedescentintheSolvemodule.UndertheNonlinearsettingsofthe
GUI,theusercanmodifytheConvergenceCriteria.Ioftenuseonlyconvergenceonforces(notmoments)whenanalyzing
shellsifIamnotinputtinganymomentsdirectly.IusuallyreducethenumberofEquilibriumIterationsto15whendoingshell
models,preferringtousesmallersubstepsinstead.However,inamodelwithgaporcontactelementsitmaybedesirableto
haveamuchlargernumberofEquilibriumIterations.IrarelytryLineSearch.
Makingagoodchoiceoftimesubstepsizesiscriticallyimportantingettingmodelstoconverge.Ifshellmodelsofflatplates
subjectedtopressureorperpendicularforcesareincludedintheanalysis,theshellwillatfirstactasaflatplateinbending.
Oncetheshellhascurved,bymovementassmallashalfitsthickness,theshellwillstarttocarrytheappliedloadwith
membraneforces.Inamodelofthistype,startingwithverysmallsubsteps(e.g.1/100ofthefullload)maybeneededto
achieveconvergence.Iwouldstartwithaverysmallfirstsubstep,butallowthelargestsubsteptobeaslargeafractionas1/4
oftheappliedload.IftherearenoperpendicularloadsbuttheloadingiscausingLargeDisplacement,orifbucklingistobe
considered,itislikelythatsmalltimestepswillbeneededtowardtheendoftheforceapplicationramp.Wherethereisno
pressureorperpendicularforceonflatshells,Iwouldstartwithasubstepsuchas1/10or1/4oftheappliedload,butallowa
minimumsubstepassmallas1/100ofthefullload.Iftheseapproacheswillnotwork,itislikelythatconvergencecontrol
commandsinadditiontotimesubstepsizewillneedconsideration.
Ifthestructureisbucklingorundergoingplasticfailure,or"simplywillnotconverge"itmayhelptousetheArcLength
method.AsIhavenotedelsewhere,Idon'tusethedefaultArcLengthsettings.Iusuallystartwithanumberofsubsteps
(NSUBST),anddon'tlettheArcLengthsolverincreasethesizeofastepbeyondmymaximumsubstepsize.IlettheArc
Lengthsolveruseaminimumstepsizethatis1/10or1/100ofmysubstepsize.IlettheArcLengthsolveruseamaximum
stepsizemultiplierofone.TheArcLengthmethodcanfollowarisingandfallingforcedisplacementrelationship.Ifind
PlotCtrls/Animate/Dynamic_ResultstobeusefulinreviewingthebehaviorduringanArcLengthanalysis,andothernonlinear
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analyses.Iprefertosavetheresultsateverysubstepwhendoingthis(OutputCtrls).WhenusingArcLengthanalysis,itis
usuallydesirabletosetacriteriontostopananalysis(NCNV).Iusuallyusemaximumdisplacementasthecriterionforshell
work.
Remembertorampupyourloads,permitautomatictimestepping,andintheNSUBSTcommand,allowtheprogramto
bisectionbysettingthemaximumnumberofsubstepsgreaterthantheminimumnumberofsubsteps.
Ifyouarehavingtroublewithconvergence,savetheresultsatintermediatesubstepssoyoucanreviewthestressand
displacements.IfyouaredoingcombinedLargeDisplacementandplasticdeformation,andhavingtroublewithconvergence,
considerastudyinwhichyoudo(1)anelasticsmalldisplacementanalysisasacheckonelementshape,loading,and
constraints,(2)aLargeDisplacementelasticsolution,andpossibly(3)aplasticsmalldisplacementsolution.Ifthesework
withoutsignificantwarningmessages,youshouldbemakingsomeprogress.Ifgaporcontactelementsarebeingused,
consider(4)softeningthenormalandtangentialstiffnessvaluesinapreliminaryanalysis(KNandKS).Youcanalso(5)try
relaxingtheconvergencecriteriaonforceand/ormomenterror.Ifdesperate,acoarselymeshedmodelmayimprovespeed
enoughforyoutostudywhathelpsgetananswer.Thesepreliminarystudiesmayhelpyoutofindwhatsettingshelpyoutoget
convergenceordiscovermodelingproblemsbeforeyoudomoretimeconsumingaccurateanalysis.Ifyouaretryinganew
technique,considertestingitonatoysizedproblem,beforeapplyingittoalargeindustrialsizedproblemthatrunsforhours
ordays,inordertolearnthepeculiaritiesandpitfallsofaparticulartimeconsumingmethod.
Ifgaporcontactelementsaretheonlynonlinearitiesinamodel,considersubstructuringthelinearregionsofthemodel.This
canresultinatremendousincreaseinsolutionspeed.Ifonlyasubregionofamodelwillbehaveinanonlinearmanner,itmay
reducesolutiontimetosubstructuretheregionthatcanberegardedasactinginalinearmanner.Thisspeedupeffectormay
notoccurwithlargedisplacementmodeling,whenthesubstructureitselfwillbeundergoinglargedisplacementIhavedone
onlylimitedtestingofthistechnique.Seebelowforabriefdiscussionandforsimpleexamplesofsubstructuring.
Tip24:WorkingwithLoadStepFilesinANSYS:
Loadstepfilescanbeusedtoautomatetheapplicationofanumberofdifferentloadcasesonastructure.Aloadstepfile
containsloadsonelementsandnodes.ItdoesNOTcontainloadsongeometricentities.Consequently,aloadstepfilecanbe
generatedafterallloadsfromgeometricentitieshavebeentransferredtoamodel.Afterallloadingongeometricentitieshas
beendeleted,theloadstepfilecanbereadbackin,recoveringallappliedloads.Alternatively,considerthe
"LSCLEAR,SOLID"command.Theseloadscanthenbescaled.
Theuserneedstobecarefulwhenmanipulatingloadstepfiles.TheloadstepfilesmaycontaintheKUSEinstructiontelling
ANSYStoreusetheTRIfileiftheconstraintshavenotchanged.Iftheuserdeletesaloadstepfile,changestheorderoftheir
execution,ormanuallymodifiestheircontents,invalidanalysismightresult.
Ifthemodelisrenumberedafterloadstepfilesaregenerated,thenodeandelementnumbersintheloadstepfilewillno
longerbesynchronizedwiththemodel,andwillbeinvalid.Awayaroundthisismentionedelsewhereinthesenotes(SeeTip
21).
ThereadershouldtakenoteoftheANSYSuserguidescommentsontheLSCLEARcommand.Thisdeletesallloadsand
resetsallloadstepoptionstotheirdefaults.Thiscan"cleanup"theloadstepdatabeforeusingLSREADtoreadaloadstep
fileformodification.WhatthisimpliesisthattheloadstepexecutionprocessdoesNOTexecuteanLSCLEARcommand
whenaloadstepfileisreadin.Ifitdid,thenANSYSwouldhavetoimplementsubstantialcheckingtoseewhetheraTRIfile
wassafetoreuse,underthefrontalsolver(TRIfilereusesavesconsiderabletime).Loadstepimplementationcancause
havocwhentheuseremploysloadstepfilesinamannerforwhichthemethodwasnotdesigned.Itmayhelptoreadthe
contentsoftheLSSOLVE.MACmacroinpredictingwhatwillhappen,andtoseewhatLSSOLVEdoestoavoidtrouble.The
LSSOLVE.MACmacroatANSYS5.3includessomeundocumentedcommandsincludingDMARK,FMARD,SMARK,
BMARK,anda*GETcommandthatretrievestheerrornumberinthe/SOLUprocess.Italsousesan"LSCLEAR,SOLID"
commandthatremovesloadsongeometricentitiesbeforereadinginloadstepfiles.ItselectsallDOFlabels,setsxCUMlabels
to"replace",anddoesafewotherthings.Idonotconsiderthemanualstopursuethistopicadequatelyauseroughttoread
themacro.
TheANSYSmanualcommentsontheLSREADcommand.ThecommanddoesNOTclearALLcurrentloadsonthemodel
whenitreadsinanewloadstepfile(itdoesclearsome...readthemanual).
Whenusingloadstepfiles:IfloadsonnodesandelementsaresetwithBFandBFEcommands(forexampleapplying
temperaturesforathermaldeformationstressanalysis),thenifyousetupasubsequentloadstep,ifthesetemperaturesareto
bereturnedtoambientitmaybenecessarytousetheBFandBFEcommandtosetthenodesandelementstothereference
temperature(bydefault0)ratherthanjustdeletingtheloadsusingBFDELEandBFEDELEandusingBFUNIFtoinputthe
uniformtemperature.Itmayhelptousecommandssuchas"nsel,s,bf,temp,999,99999"and"esel,s,bfe,temp,999,99999"to
selectallofthenodesorelementstowhichtemperatureshavebeenapplied,ifyouaregoingtochangethem.Beverycareful
withtheBFEcommand.Ifyousetthevalueofthetemperatureat,forexample,fourlocationsonanelementwithBFE,andin
alaterloadstepsetthevalueatonlytwolocationswithinanelement,thetemperatureattheothertwolocationswillstillbe
"hangingaround"atthepreviousvalue.Itisveryeasytomakethismistakewhenrunningaseriesofloadstepfiles.(Another
thingIfoundoutthehardway,inamodelwherebothpipingcreationcommandsandbeamelementswereused.)
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IftheuserisdeletingdisplacementconstraintsusingDDELE,andthenwritinganadditionalloadstepfile,theoldconstraint
maystillbepresentwhentheseriesofloadstepfilesisreadinunderLSREADcheckforthisinyourresults.Becarefulwith
this.Itmaycompromisetheuseofloadstepfiles,orrequiresomeinterventionlikewritinganinputfilethatcallsloadstep
filesinusingLSREAD,implementingfixupcommandsasneededbecarefulthataTRIfileisnotreusedbecauseaload
stepfilecontains"KUSE,1"whenyourchangestoconstraintsmeanthatanewTRIfileshouldbegenerated.Statementsinthe
LSSOLVE.MACmacrocanprovideguidanceonusingLSREADeffectively.Youmayneedtolookinsidetheloadstepfiles
withatexteditor.Bewarnedthatchangingthecontentsofloadstepfileswithatexteditorcanbetrickybecauseofunintended
sideeffects.
Ingeneraltheuserwillhavetobecarefulthatthe"residue"fromtheloadsanddisplacementsfromoneloadstepdonotappear
inappropriatelyinlaterloadsteps.Thisistruewhengeneratingtheloadstepfilesinthefirstplace,andmayapplywhen
readinginloadstepfileswithLSREAD.Asnoted,LSSOLVE.MACusescleanupstatements.
Theuserwillhavetobecarefultochangeloadsbetweenloadstepsinamannerconsistentwithgettingsmoothrampingof
loadsanddisplacements,forthosecaseswhenthisisdesired,eitherfortransientanalysis,orforgoodnonlinearanalysis
convergence,orwhenintermediateresultsaredesiredatinbetweenloads.
BeforereadinginloadstepfilestosolvewithLSREAD,ensurethatloadsongeometricentitiesandelementsandnodeshave
beendeleted,unlessyouarekeepingthemintentionally(asnoted,loadsongeometricentitiesoverwriteloadsonelementsand
nodes).Asnoted,LSSOLVE.MACinANSYS5.3containsthecommand"LSCLEAR,SOLID"toremovethesolidmodel
loadsonthemodelbeforeproceeding.
IfLargeDisplacementanalysisisgoingtobeusedinanalysesrunbyloadstepfiles,theNLGEOMflagmustbesetinthefirst
loadstepfile.TherewillbenoNLGEOMcommandgeneratedinsubsequentloadstepfiles.BecauseANSYSdoesnotpermit
thekindofanalysistobechangedwhenapplyingaseriesofloadsteps,errormessageswillberesultiftheuserchangesthe
valueofNLGEOMinthemiddleofasetofloadstepfiles.
Tip25:PlottingShellStressesSurface,MidPlaneStress,LoadPaths,ESYSandRSYS:
IntheANSYSdatabase,shellstresses(and
strains)forthebasicshellelements(63,43,143,
181,and93)arereportedatthetopandbottom
surfacesoftheshellelement.Theusercanhas
fouroptionsinANSYS5.3forplottingshell
stresses(andstrains).Threeofthemareselected
withthecommands:"SHELL,TOP",
"SHELL,MID"or"SHELL,BOT".Thesewill
causeplottingofshellstresses(andstrains)tobe
basedonthevaluesatthetopsurface,midplane,
orbottomsurfaceofeachshellelement.Thisisabitmisleading.Themidplanestressisbasedontheaverageofthestressesat
thetopandbottom(thismaynotbecorrect,atleastforsomeelements,consideringSection2.3.4oftheTheorymanual,which
referstostressonthemidplaneofashellelementseparatelyfromthetopandbottom,andformstheforceperlinearunitfrom
aweightedaverageoftopsurface,midplane,andbottomsurfacestresswhat'sgoingonhere?).Whatconstitutesthetop
andbottomofashellelementdependsontheelement'sorientationwhenitwasdefined(seeelsewhereinthesepages).Itis
possibletohaveadjacentelements,onewitha"top"surfacepointingupward,anditsneighbourwiththe"top"surfacepointing
downward.Incomplexstructuresithappensallthetime.Ifnodalaveragedplotsaredone,forexamplewith
"PLNSOL,S,EQV",wheneithertopsurfaceorbottomsurfaceplottingischosen,thenwithsuchadjacentelements,theplotted
topsurfaceandbottomsurfaceresultswillgetblended,causingamisleadingmesstobedisplayed.(SeeTip19forcommands
thatcanreorientshellelements.)
Moreinsightintotheflowofstressinamodelcanbegainedbyplottingthestressvectors,usingthe"PLVECT,S"command.
Withshells,thesevectorswillbeplottedforthemidplaneprinciplestresscomponents.Attimesyouwillwanttousevector
graphicswithnohiddensurfaceremoval,togivethebestviewofthesevectors.Ifthereislocalcompression,thevectorspoint
inward.Thesevectorscangiveinsightintoloadpathsinastructure.
Wherethereareintersectionsofplanesofshellelements,e.g.cornersor"Tee"intersections,orwhereelementsofdiffering
thicknessmeet,theaveragingofnodestressescanrenderlocalstressplotinformationmeaninglessattheintersection.Thisis
trueofbothsurfaceandmidplanestressplots.Thisisonewayinwhichexcessivestresseswillbeunintentionallymissed.
Anytimethatnodalaveragedplottingisdone,itispossiblefortheaveragingto"washout"localstressesthatmaybe
important,yetitiscommontodonodalaveragedplotsbecauseoftheirmuchcleanerappearance(Idothemmyself).The
fourthoptioninplottingshellstressesistoswitchontheANSYSPowergraphicsfeature.Thiscausesshellresultstobe
displayed,evenaveraged,forthevisiblesurface.OptionsactivatedwiththeAVRESand/EFACETcommandscanrefinethe
waytheresultsareplottedunderPowergraphics(lookthemup).Powergraphicshastheoptionstodiscontinuetheaveragingof
stresscontourswheretherearecertaindiscontinuitiesinthematerialorgeometryinthemodel.I'mgoingintothisdetail,
becauseahighstressthatiswashedoutbynodalaveragingcouldbeastressthatcausesseriousfatigueorotherdamage,such
ascracking,oraweldbeingtornapart.
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TheonlyshortcomingisthatPowergraphicswillnotworkwithmidplanestress.Theuserhasfewoptionshere.Sometimesit
isimportanttoselectonlyregionsofamodelwhendoingnodalaveragedmidplanestressplots(using"SHELL,MID",
withoutPowergraphics)sothattheaveragingdoesnotwashanythingout.AmidplanestressplotwithoutPowergraphicscan
bedoneforelementstresses,usingacommandlike"PLESOL,S,EQV".Thiswilllookmessy,butatleastitdoesn'thidean
extremestress.AnalternativeIusedisdiscussedelsewhereinthesepages:Iwroteamacrotogetthemidplaneaveraged
stress(allcomponents)ateverynodeofeveryelement(agivennodehasdifferentresultswithreferencetoeachofthe
elementstowhichitisattached,soagivennodewillbelookedupasmanytimesasthenumberofelementstowhichitis
attached),andtransferittothetopandbottomsurfaces,sothatPowergraphicswouldplotmidplaneaveragedstressneatly,
withdiscontinuities.CAUTION:Thisruinstheresultsdatabase.Themacroisextremelyslowtorun.Themethod(under
Powergraphics)does,however,givefarbetterlookingplotsthanusingthe"PLESOL,S,EQV"commandtoplotmidplane
elementstresseswithoutnodalaveraging(withoutPowergraphics).

LOADPATHS:ThemacroImentionabovecouldbemodifiedtomultiplythemidplaneaveragedstresscomponentsbythe
localshellelementthicknessateachnode.Theresultingvalueswouldyieldacontourplotofforceperlinearinch(orother
dimensionalunit)"averaged"atthemidplaneoftheshellthiscouldhelptomakeloadpathsvisibleinacomplexshell
structure."PLVECT,S"plotsthatwouldnowshowarrowscorrespondingtotheloadperunitlengthonthemidplaneand
showtheprincipaldirectionsinwhichitpoints,helpingtoillustratetheloadpaths.Thismacrowouldalsoruinthedatabasefor
anyotheruse.Beforeplotting"loadperunitlength"data,theuserneedstodecidehowtoorienttheresultsdatacoordinate
systemswithRSYSforinformationsuchasSxorSythatcontainsdirectioninformation(stressandstrainwithEQVdoesnot
containdirectioninformation).
Note:TheOutputDatasectiononShell63,Shell43,andShell93includesInplaneelementX,Y,andXYforcescalledTX,TY,
andTXY.Consequently,shell"forceperunitlength"datacanbeobtaineddirectlyinanElementTableveryquickly,though
witharesolutionofonevalueperelement.(ForShell63,43,and93,useSMISCsetting1,2,or3whengeneratingtheelement
tabledata.)TheTheoryManualusesthetermInplaneforcesperunitlengthwhiletheelementsmanualreferstojustforcesas
aboveasimpletestIranshowsthedatatobeforceperunitlength.Theelementsmanualoughttoclarifythis.TheElement
Tabledatacanbecontourplotted,buttherearenoprincipalstressstylevectorplotsoftabledata.(Clarification:PLVECTcan
plotvectorarrowsbasedon3ETABLEcolumns,butnotthedoubleheadedarrowsforanETABLEasinaprincipalstress
vectorplot.)TheElementsmanualshowstheTX,TY,andTXYvaluesnotbeingavailableunder"MiscellaneousElement
Output"ateverynode,onlyatthecentroid.TheElementsmanualdoesnotexplicitlyshowthatS,EQVorS,INTstress
informationcanbeextractedatthemidplane.Theirvalueisextractedwiththecomponentnamemethod.Brief
experimentationshowsthatifthecommand"SHELL,MID"isfollowedby"ETABLE,SEQVMID,S,EQV"thatthecolumn
calledSEQVMIDwillcontainanaverageSEQVvalueforthemidplane.If"SHELL,TOP"or"SHELL,BOT"iscalled,the
ETABLEvalueofSEQVwillchangeiftheupdatecommand"ETABLE,REFL"isexecuted.Warning:WhenplottingETABLE
shellelementelementtabledatawithPLETABtheplotinformationlegendwillreadTOP,MID,orBOTaccordingtothe
currentsettingoftheSHELLcommand.ThisbitofinformationDOESNOTreflecttheSHELLsurfacesettingconditionsin
effectwhentheETABLEdatawasstored,andcouldbemisleading.Forthisreason,thelabelusedforthecolumnshould
indicatetheshelllayersettinginusewhentheelementtabledatawasloaded,aswith"SEQVMID"above.Doinganelement
tableupdatewithETABLE,REFLwillrefillcolumnswithresultsdata.AchangeoftheSHELLlayersettingcanchangestress
resultsthatareloadedinanupdate.Consequently,loadingshellelementdatamustbehandledverycarefullyinorderthatthe
layerchoiceiscontrolled.ElementtabledatafromtheCALCmodule(addingcolumnsetc.)isNOTupdatedandhastobe
explicitlyrecalculated.
NOTEAlso:ThedirectionoftheelementtableloadperunitlengthTX,TY,andTXYisastakenfromtheelementinElement
Coordinates.UnlikeSXorSY,thevaluesofTX,TY,andTXYappeartobeinsensitivetotheRSYSsetting.TheElement
CoordinateSystemwillvaryorientationfromelementtoelement,particularlyunderfreemeshing,andaffectstheusefulnessof
TX,TY,andTXYdata.Theelementtabledatacanbeprocessedbytheusertoyieldanewtablecolumncontainingthe"load
perunitlengthintensity"inthesenseofaMohr'scircle,givingrapidifsomewhatcoarseplotsofloadpathinformationalong
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theshellmidplane.Theplotswillusuallybemoreinformativewithoutnodalaveraging.Section2.3.4oftheANSYSTheory
manualdiscussesForcesandMomentsperunitlengthonshellelementsthesuggestionisthatinternally,atleastforsome
shellelements,themidplanestressisNOTsimplytheaverageofthetopandbottomstresses.Thewayaroundtheproblemof
elementcoordinatesystemsbeingarbitrarilyorientedistodefinelocalcoordinatesystemsbeforemeshingareas(orotherwise
generatingshellelements)anduseESYStogetallshellelementsorientedwiththelocalcoordinatesystems.ESYSassignedto
elementscanbemodifiedafterthefactbutbeforeSOLVE,byusingtheEMODIFcommandin/PREP7.Itmaybedesirableto
havealocalcoordinatesystemalignedwitheachflatareatobemeshedwithshellelementssothatallshellelementcoordinate
systemscanbealignedintheplaneoftheareaatimeconsumingprocessunlessamacroisused.Curvedsurfaceswouldbe
difficult.
Theproblemoforientingcoordinatesystemsintheplottingofresultsisillustratedbytheimagesbelow.Thefirstshows3
elementsthatwerecreatedduringfreemeshing.Theelementsareplottedusingvectorgraphics,withtheelementcoordinate
systemsshown.Eachelementhasitscoordinatesystemorienteddifferently.Theimagebelowitliststheelementsandtheir
nodenumbers.Lookatthesequenceofnodenumbersforthethreeelementstoseewhytheelementcoordinatesystemspoint
insuchdifferentdirections.

ThenexttwoimagesshowaplotofTXdonefromanelementtable.TheelementtablewasfilledbytheTXvaluesforthe
elements(thisistheloadperunitlengthintheelementcoordinatesystemXdirection).Thevaluesdiffersomuchfrom
elementtoelementbecauseofthedifferenceintheelementcoordinatesystems.Theplotconsequentlytellsustoolittle.The
followingelementplotofSxshowsthestressintheXdirection.Theresultsareshownintheglobalcoordinatesystem.

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ThefinalimagesinthissectionshowagroupofShell63elementsthathavehadtheirelementcoordinatesystemsalignedwith
localcoordinatesystemsatthetimeofthecreationoftheelements,bytheuseoftheESYScommand.Thiswillpermit
elementtableresultsTX,TY,andTXYtobealignedinaknownmanner.ThisalsopermitsSx,Sy,andSxytobealignedinthe
planeoftheelementscreationifRSYS,SOLUisactivewhenplottingstressresults.Knowlegeofthealignmentoftheloads
andstressescanmakeplotsmoreusefulinunderstandingloadpaths,reducethetotalnumberofplotsrequiredinmodel
assessment,andhelpfacilitateanevaluationofloadingonwelds.Thefirstplotwithvectorgraphicsshowstheelementswith
theirelementcoordinatesystems.Notethattheyarealigned.Therearetwolocalcoordinatesystemsatworkinthisexample
theyarenumbered11and12andtheirsymbolsareplotted.Elementshavebeencreatedalignedwithnumber11inoneplane,
andalignedwithnumber12intheotherplaneofelements.AlinepressurehasbeenappliedintheglobalYdirection.The
secondplotwithrastergraphicsisofSxattheshellmidplane.BecauseRSYS,SOLUwasactivewhentheSxplotwas
generated,thereareSxvaluesshowninallelements.IfRSYS,0wereactivewhentheSxplotwasdone,theplaneofelements
thatisperpendiculartotheglobalXaxiswouldshowzerostressintheXdirectioninthisexample.

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ThereisanalternativetousingESYSandRSYS,SOLUtoalignelementcoordinatesystemsforthepurposesofstressplots
likeSx,Sy,andSxy.Duringpostprocessingin/POST1,alocalcoordinatesystemcanbealignedwiththeplaneofshell
elementsofinterest,andRSYSsettothatlocalcoordinatesystem,beforeplottingSx,Sy,orSxy.However,thiswoulddo
nothingforTX,TY,andTXYwhichdependontheelementcoordinatesystemandaregeneratedinanElementTable.
Ileavethetopicofwhethertoplotsurfaceormidplaneshellstressestothereadertodetermine.Toomuchisindustryor
applicationdomainspecific.Hint:Checkmidplaneplusbothshellsurfacestresses.Surfacestressesandstrainscancauselocal
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bending,cracking,breakingofprotectivecoatings,fatigue,andimplypossibleoverloadorpryingofweldsandfasteners,and
canhighlightothertroubles.
Tip26:NodalCoupling(CP)versusRigidRegion(CERIG):
Ihaveseenanalystsmistakenlyusenodalcouplingwhererigidregionconstraintequationsshouldhavebeenemployed.(The
nodesconcernedwerenotatthesamelocationinspace.)Rigidregionconstraintlockstogetheraselectedsetofnodessothat
theytranslateANDrotateinspaceasiftheywerelockedtogetherbyaninfinitelystiffstructure.Nodalcouplinglockstogether
selecteddegreesoffreedom(translationand/orrotation)individually,sothatthesamedegreeoffreedomvaluewillresultfor
thenodesinthecoupledset.Nodalcouplingwillnotcombinetherotationsandtranslationsthatarenecessarytoimplyrotation
asarigidbodyinspace.
NotethatrigidregionconstraintmaynotbeappropriateforLargeDisplacement,whenthedisplacementrotationsare
significant(sin(theta)differingfromtheta,etc.).ThisisbecauseANSYSusesalinearapproximationtotherigidbodyrotation
matrix.Arigidregiongroupingcanbeimpliedbytyingnodestogetherwithextremelystiffbeamelements(zeromassbeam
elementsafewordersofmagnitudestifferthanthestructuretowhichtheyareattached.)Thebeamelementsshouldhavethe
advantagethattheyworkunderLargeDisplacement.Thebeamelementsshouldnotbetoostiff,orillconditionedmatrices
couldresult.Ifthebeamsareofverywidelyvaryinglengths,thensomemaybetoostiff,otherstooflexiblerememberthat
flexibilityisproportionaltolengthcubed.
Iranamodelinwhichaboutonethousandbeamelementswereusedtopositiongapelements.Thesebeamelementswould
ideallyhavebeeninfinitelystiff.Ineededelements,insteadofnodalcouplingorconstraintequations,becauseofthermal
expansionconsiderations.Thebeamelementswerewidelyvaryinginlength.Thiscreatedsolvertrouble,untilIwroteamacro
thatassignedeachbeamelementauniqueREALvalue,whichsetvaluesforeachBEAM4'sIxx,Iyy,Izz,andAreaasa
functionoftheelement'slength.Ifounditsufficienttosettheirstiffnessacoupleofordersofmagnitudestifferthatcontact
stiffnessforthegapelements.
Turningonthesymbolsfornodalcouplingandfornodalconstraintequationsisveryhelpfulinreviewingthecorrectnessofa
model.
Tip27:VibrationModeswithPrestress:
CalculationofnaturalfrequenciesandmodesofvibrationCANbedonewithprestressingofthestructureunderANSYS.
Thereisa"PRESTRESS"flagtosetundermodalanalysis.ThisisavailableinthedialogboxforModalAnalysisOptions.
First,doastaticanalysiswiththeprestressflagset.ExitSolution(clickFinishorenter"/fini").ReenterSolution,anddoa
modalanalysiswiththeprestressflagsetagain.ThisdoesnotseemtoworkwhenthestressrunisdonewithLarge
Displacementactivated.
Ileavethequestionofhowaperformerplaysmusicwithahandsawandaviolinbowasan"exerciseforthereader":)
Tip28:CreatingNewElementsbyCopyingorReflectingExistingStructure:
Inordertocreatenewelementsbyreflectingorcopyingexistingelements,thereareafewthingstodo.First,selectthe
elementstobecopiedandgettheirnodeswithNSLE.Copyorreflectthenodes,notingthenodalnumberoffsetthatwillbe
usedwriteitdown.Copyorreflecttheelements,usingthenodaloffsetnumberthatyouwrotedown.ANSYSshoulddefault
toanodaloffsetnumberequaltoyourhighestnumberednode.Ifyoumakeitsmaller,youruntheriskofchangingthelocation
ofnodesthatalreadyexist,resultinginalovelymess.IfyouarerunningsomethinglikeANSYS/EDyoumaywantto
compressyournodenumbersfirst,forifanodenumberresultsthatexceedstheANSYS/EDlimit,theprogramwillterminate
immediately(themorerecentANSYSrevisionsmaygiveanonfatalwarningmessageandquitsometimelaterifyoudon't
cleanup).Youcouldcompressthenodenumbers,andthenmaketheoffsetnumberequaloneplusthedifferencebetweenthe
maximumnodenumberofthewholemodelandthelowestnodenumberofthosenodestobecopiedorreflected.Youcanfind
thesenodenumberswith*GETcommands.(Rememberthatcompressingnodeorelementnumberswilldestroy
synchronizationwithLoadStepfiles.)
Thesamenodaloffsetnumberwillneedtobeusedifnodalcouplingistobecopiedaswell.Inordertocopynodalcoupling,
use"GenerateCoupledDOFSetswithsameDOF"forwhichyouwillneedthesamenodaloffsetnumber.Doareplottosee
thenewlycreatednodalcoupling.Caution:Besurethatifnodesweredeletedearlier,thatnodalcouplingequationsthatinthe
pastincludedthosedeletednodeswerealsodeleted.Ifyouforget,youmaygetaprettymess.
Rememberthatiftherearenodesontheplaneofreflection,newnodeswilloverlaythem.Mergecommandsmaybewanted
forthenodesonthereflectionplane.Nowthetrickypart:elementslyinginthereflectionplane(shellelementswilldothis)get
generatedwiththenodeorderreversed,becauseofthemirrorimaging.TheyWillNotMergewiththeelementfromwhich
theywerereflected.Theymayhavetobedeleted,dependingonwhatyouaretryingtoaccomplish.Alternatively,donotselect
elementsthatlieintheplaneofreflectionwhenreflectingthestructure.Youstillneedtoreflectthenodesontheplaneof
reflection,inordertoreflecttheelementsthatwilljointhemtotheremainderofthereflectedstructure,sothenodalmergewill
stillbeneeded.
Tip29:AddingtoaModelComprisedofElementsandNodesOnly:
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Itmayhappenthatamodelthatconsistsofnodesandelementsonlyhastohaveasectionreplaced,orrequirestheadditionof
morestructure.Thewaytoattachnewgeometryontoexistingnodesandelementsisto:(1)Placekeypointsonthenodesonto
whichnewgeometryistobebuilt(i.e.grafted).(2)Jointhesekeypointswithlines.(3)Setmeshdensityalongtheselinesto
onlyoneelement.(4)Buildnewgeometryoutwardfromthesekeypointsandlines.Thisgetsmessyifyouarebuildingsolids.
(5)Meshthenewgeometry.(6)Selectthenodes(newandold)alongtheinterfacebetweentheoldnodesandthenodesofthe
newgeometry.(7)MergeONLYthesenodesalongtheinterfaceusingtheNUMMRG,NODEcommand.Alternatively(much
moreworkunlessamacroiswrittenortheCPINTFcommandisusedcorrectly),fullycouplethePAIRSofnodeswiththeCP
command.Intheeventofelementswithmidsidenodes,lineswillhavetobecreatedcurvedsothatasinglelinespansthree
keypointsplacedonthethreenodesalongtheedgeofanelement.Itisprobablyadvisabletoconnectelementswithmidside
nodestootherelementswithmidsidenodes.
Thisattachesthenewgeometryandmeshtotheoldelementsandnodes.Besuretodoublecheckthatthemerginghasbeen
donecorrectlyandaccordingtoyourintentionsIhavefoundthistobeasurprisinglyerrorproneoperation.
Tip30:ZeroMassBeamElementsFormRigidRegion:
Ananalystcoulduseverystiffbeamelements(afewordersofmagnitudestifferthanthesurroundingstructure)inorderimply
arigidregiongroupingofnodes,whichworksunderLargeDisplacement(aCERIGgroupdoesnotworkwithlarge
displacement).ThisisanoldFEAtrickitisnotperfect.Aseparatematerialshouldbecreatedforthesebeams,andbegiven
zeromass(setthematerialdensitytozero)sothatnogravitationalorotherinertialloadactsonthematerial.Athermal
expansioncoefficientshouldbeinputifappropriateitwouldusuallybeidenticaltothecoefficientvalueforthestructurethat
itapproximates.
Iwroteamacrotocreatearigidregionusingbeamelements.Itiscalledafterthesetofnodestobeconnectedisselected.The
lowestnumberedofthesetofnodesisattachedtoeachoftheothernodesinthesetbyabeamelement.Thebeamelementto
usehastobesetupinadvance,andtheappropriateMAT,REAL,andTYPEsetbytheuser.Amacrolikethisisveryfastto
run.Caution:Suchamacrowouldbecomecomplexifitcheckedforduplicatenodesatthefirstnodelocation(ANSYScan't
usezerolengthbeams),andcheckedforwidelyvaryingbeamlengths.Thisisnotaguaranteedmethod.
Tip31:TurnoffSymbolsWhenChangingaModelafterSolution:
IfyouhaverunSOLVE,theresultsdatabasewillbefullofdata.Ifyouthenchangeamodel,andcreateanythingthatplotsa
symbol,allsymbolsbecomeactive,andplotsbecomeextremelyslow.Turnoffsymbolswith/PBC,ALL,,0tospeedthingsup.
IputthiscommandintheToolboxforconvenience.Ihavefoundthatplottingcanbecomeslowwithverylargemodelswhen
loadshavebeenapplied,andevenwhenappliedanddeleted.PresumablyANSYSischeckingtoseeifanysymbolsshouldbe
shown.Theplottingspeededupconsiderablywhensymbolswereturnedoffwith"/PBC,ALL,,0"eventhoughtherewere,in
fact,nosymbolstobeplotted.
Tip32:Arethe"FreeFree"VibrationModesRelevant?:
Simplesupportsonastructuremaybeappropriateforstaticanalysisandgravityloading,sincethestructurewill"sink"until
thesimplesupportreactsenoughtowithstandtheappliedload.Ifamodalvibrationisexcited,smallamplitudevibrationsmay
resultinverylittleresponsefromthesupport,andvibrationsimilartoastructurethatisfreeinspacemayresult(thisis
obviouslyveryproblemdependent).Ifso,itmaybedesirabletorunamodalvibrationanalysiswithnoconstraints.Morethan
sixmodesmustberequested,sincethefirst6representthefreetranslationandrotation,andgiveZeroeigenvalues.Abetter
approachwouldbetocharacterizetheflexibilityoftheconstraintpoints.Withsomestructures,youmaygetafewsurprises,as
torsionalandothervibrationmodesappear.
Tip33:SelectingaCADorFEASystemCoverYourself
ItiscommontoevaluateafewCADorFEApackageswhentryingtomaketherightchoiceforapurchase.Watchoutforthis
stunt:(I'veseenitdone,andbeenthreatenedwithitonce(Ilaughedather).)Alosingvendorwritesalettertoyourboss,or
eventotheheadofyourcompany,claimingthattheengineersareincompetent(stupid,uninformed,can'tspell,andsoon)and
makingahugemistake.Ifthebossisnotanengineerandcannotunderstandtheissues,thiscouldgetawkward.(Certain
Dilbertcartoonscometomind.)Warnyourboss(es)inadvancethatafewvendorspullthismoveandthatyouandyourgroup
willevaluatetheproductsinathoroughmanner.Writedownsomecriteriaandyourassessments.Also,becarefulthatyou
cannotbeaccusedofleakinginformationunfairlyfromonevendortoanotherdateyourcorrespondencecarefully,andwork
throughyourpurchasingdepartmentifthatisappropriateatyourfirm.Somesalestypesareverygreedyfortheir
commissions,andpetulantwhentheylose.(Nameswillnotbementioned,toprotecttheguilty.Ifyou'vebeenaroundtheblock
acoupleoftimes,perhapsyoucanmakeafewguesses.)
(TheANSYSvendorI'vedealtwithhasbeenveryprofessional.)

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Tip34:CreatingLinesPerpendicularto,oratAngletoExistingLines
Whencreatingstructuresinthe/PREP7portionofANSYS,Ifindthatthecommandsthatcreate
linesthatareperpendiculartoexistinglines,oratanangletoexistinglines,areextremelyuseful.
LookatthecommandsLANG,LTAN,L2ANG,aswellastheothers.Thesecommandsbreak
lineswherenewlinesintersect,eventhoughtheoriginallinesarealreadyattachedtoareas.Since
Ioftenmodelshellsthataretoactasiftheyareweldedtogether,Ineedthelinestobeshared
whereareascontacteachother.ThesecommandsgivetheconnectivityIneed.
Thecommandthatmeetsanotherlineatananglemaydobetterifitisenteredmanually,withthe
firstguessofthecontactpointsetat0.0,0.5,or1.0,dependingonyourintention.Thisoften
succeedswhentheinterfacecommandfails.
Tip35:Usethe/UIcommandinYourANSYSToolbartoBringupGUIDialogBoxes
Takealookatthe/UIcommandinANSYS.YoucanuseitinyourToolbartoactivatecertainGUIdialogboxeswithoneclick
simplicity,insteadoffindingyourwaythoughthemenusystem.IsometimesgetoddresultsfromtheHardCopycommand
whenIdothisIhavenoideawhy.
Tip36:ReactionForce,NodalForce,andLoadPaths
Iworkedonamodelsubjecttoaerodynamicpressureandgravityload.Weneededtoknowtheloadthatthestructurewould
applytoitsfoundations.PrintingtheReactionForcewouldgivethisvalue,howeverthe+/signisinthedirectionoftheforce
thattheconstrainednode(ornodes)appliesTOthestructure.IfnodesareselectedwiththethreecommandsNSEL,S,D,UX$
NSEL,A,D,UY$NSEL,A,D,UZtheNodalForceattheconstrainednodescanbeprinted.Thisistheforcewithwhichthe
nodespressonthesupports.(NOTE:Youmayneedtoincludenodeswherethereareconstraintsonrotation,dependingon
whatyouaremodeling.)
WARNING:Anumberofthingscangowrongwiththisapproach.
1.Ifyouaskfornodalforceswithoutlimitingthenodeselectiontonodeswherethereareconstraints,youwillgetnodal
forceswhereverforcesandpressureshavebeenappliedtoyourstructure.(Forthecurious,printingnodalforceswhen
onlypressurehasbeenappliedtoshellandhighorderelementswillillustratethatFEAsoftwareinputsacomplexsetof
forcesandmomentsbecauseofhowtheelementsarederivedfromfirstprinciples.Whatisbeingprintedistheforce
withwhichthenodesreacttotheforcesinputfromoutsideifamomentisinput,anodal"force"momentisoutputin
reaction.)
2.Ifaninputforcehasbeenappliedtoaconstrainednode,thenodalforceandthereactionforcemagnitudeswilldiffer.
WhenItestedthis,thereactionforcethatANSYSlistedwasmodifiedbythepresenceofaforceapplieddirectlytoa
constrainednode,whereasthenodalforce(thatisbasedonlyonelementdeformation)wasnotaffected.
3.IMPORTANT:Alltheelementstowhichtheselectednodeisattachedmustbeselectedinordertogetthetotalforce
withwhichthenodepushesontheoutsideworld(useESLNafterselectingthenodes).ThegenerationofNodalForce
(andReactionForce,ifIremembercorrectly)isdeterminedfromthedeformationandstiffnessofattachedelements.If
elementsattachedtoanodeofinterestarenotselected,thenthecontributionofthoseelementstotheforceatthenodeis
notincludedandwillbemissing.
4.Caution:Ifyouhaveusedarigidregionwiththenodeofinterest,thelackofelementdeformationmeansthatyouwill
NOTgettheNodalForceorReactioncorrectlyyoumayneedtoworkfromthesetofnodeswheretherigidregion
attachestotheflexiblepartofthestructure.I'mnotsurewhatkindofeffectsnodalcouplingwouldhave.
TherearevariousotherusestowhichyoucanputNodalForce.YoucanplottheNodalForcevectorsalongwithyourmodel
(seethe/PBCcommand),afterSOLVE,givingvisualcuesduringyourreview.YoucanuseNODALFORCEtofindoutabout
theloadbeingcarriedincertainLoadPaths:
Determinewheretopositiona"cut"inthemodel.Locateitwhereyouwanttodeterminetheforcecarriedacrossthecut.
The"cut"shouldfollowapathalongtheedgeofasetofadjoiningelements.SelectalltheelementsonONEsideofthe
"cut".
Selectthenodesonthe"cut"sideofthoseelements.
PrintingtheNodalForce(forcesonly)willtellyouabouttheforcesthatyourselectedelementsapplytothosenodes.
Thesumthatisprintedtellsyouthetotalforcecarriedacrossthe"cut"intheX,Y,Zdirections,basedontheselected
elements.
Caution:Gettingthemomentacrossthecutisnotsoeasy,becausemomentisdeterminedwithrespecttoanaxis.You
wouldhavetodoextraworktopursuemomentacrossacut,determiningyour"neutral"axis,andusingothercommands.
See,forexample,ANSYSmanualsinformationontheSPOINTcommand.
NotemyearliercommentTip25onmakingloadpathsvisibleinshellmodels.Forfurtherinformation,readtheANSYS
manualsontheFSUMandNFORCEcommands.
Tip37:InputtingTemperatureswithBF,BFE,andTUNIFinStructuralAnalysis
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AsdiscussedbyANSYSinChapter2.6oftheElementsManual,BodyLoads(temperaturesforstructuralanalysisthatcause
thermalstrainsandaffecttemperaturedependentmaterialproperties)maybeinputinanodalformatoranelementformat.
"Eitherthenodalortheelementloadingformatmaybeusedforanelement,withtheelementformattakingprecedence.Body
Loadsaredesignatedinthe"InputSummary"ofeachelement."ThismeansthatifbothBFEandBFareappliedtoanelement
anditsnodes,andtheinputsdiffer,theBFEsettingwillgovern.Iftemperatureisinputonanodalbasis,thetemperatureinput
atanodewillinfluencealltheattachedelements.Iftemperatureisinputonanelementbasis,thetemperature(s)inputwill
influenceonlytheelementtowhichitwasapplied.ThecommandsTUNIFandBFUNIFcanbeusedtosetallnodestoone
defaulttemperaturethatdiffersfromthereferencetemperature.Then,BForBFEcommandscantousedonspecificregionsof
themodeltoputinothertemperatures.
Ifyouusepipingcommandstocreatepipeelements,andhaveappliedtemperatures,ANSYSwillapplythetemperaturesonan
elementbasis(tocheckthis,generateaLoadStepfileandinspectitscontents,orusetheBFLISTandBFELISTcommands).
Fortheuserapplyingtemperaturesdirectly,itcanbealittlesimplertoapplytemperaturesonanodalbasiswithBF,sincethe
nodescanbeselectedbylocation.InputtingtemperaturesonanelementbasiswithBFEpermitscontrolofthingssuchas
temperaturedifferencesbetweentheinsideandoutsideofpipeelements,orbetweenthetopandbottomofbeamelements.The
elementlistingintheElementsManualshouldbeconsultedbeforeapplyingtemperatureswithBFE.AsIdiscussedelsewhere,
ifyouchangetemperaturesthatwerepreviouslysetwithBFE,thetemperatureshavetobechangedatallthelocationswithin
eachelementtowhichtemperatureswereapplied.Otherwise,theoldtemperatureswillstillbethere.Youmaywanttocleanup
withaBFEDELEorothercleanupcommandbeforestarting.TheBFDELEandBFEDELEcommandsonlyactonselected
nodesandelementsifyouwanttoremovealltemperatureapplication,selectthefullmodelfirst.Bewaryofwhathappens
whenyouuseLoadStepfiles.
Tip38:ANSYSToolbarUse

TheANSYSToolbarcanbeveryhelpfulingiving"oneclick"accesstofrequentlyusedcommands.Toolbarbuttonscanalso
callmacros,orthefunctionformofcommands,forexampleFnc_Pl_Symbolstobringupthedialogboxforsettingsymbols.If
youwanttogetfancy,atoolbarbuttoncouldbeusedtoactivateanalternativetoolbar.
Inthetoolbarshownhere,avarietyofbuttonshavebeenenabled.Someofthecaptionsarealittle
crypticthisisbecausethecaptionsarelimitedtoonly8characters.Thecommandthatgetsexecuted
cannotincludethe$sign.Consequently,onlyonecommandcanbeexecuted,however,amacrocan
becalledinordertoperformacomplexsetofinstructions.Thetoolbareditingisbroughtupfromthe
menuitem"MenuCtrls".Intheexampletoolbarshownhere,thebuttonsarenotinahighlylogical
order.Inordertomodifythebuttonsequence,savethetoolbar(Isuggesttheunimaginativefilename
"toolbar")andreorderthelinesinthatfilewithatexteditor.Keeptheeventualsizingofyourtoolbar
inmind.Theexamplehereissizedforsixrowsdeep,andsevencolumnswide.Usethe"SaveMenu
Layout"menuselectiontosavethelayoutofallofyourANSYSwindowsincludingthetoolbar
shape.(Thissettingisdestroyedifyoumodifythe"GUIconfiguration"underyourANSYS
Interactivestartupdialogbox.)Whenyouarehappywiththelayoutofyourtoolbar,youcanappend
thetoolbarfile'scontentstotheendofthe"Start.ans"filelocatedintheANSYS"DOCU"
subdirectory.
Tip39:ANSYSPipingElements
TheuseofANSYSpipingelements,Pipe16andPipe18,cansimplifytheworkrequiredtocreatemodelsofpipingsystems
thatwillsatisfycertaincoderequirements.Pipingcommandscanbeusedin/PREP7todirectlycreatemodelsofpiping.In
usingpipingcreationcommands,auserworksouttheintersectionpointsoftherunsofpipingasiftherearesharpanglebends.
Eachrunofpipeisenteredasdx,dy,dz,creatingPipe16elements,andthenaradiusofcurvatureatthepreviousintersection
canbeapplied,creatingPipe18elements.ThePipe18elementsaretakenoutofthetwoPipe16elementsthatmetatthelast
cornerintersection.IfthesetwoPipe16elementsaretoosmalltoencompassthePipe18bendelements,difficultieswillresult.
IftheuserisdefiningUbends,itiseasytohavezerolengthPipe16elementsgenerated.Myapproachtothisistoinspectthe
modelforzerolengthPipe16elements,anddeletethem,afterImakesurethatallpipenodesaremerged.Iuseamacroto
inspectthemodelanddothedeletions.Checksareincludedinthemacro,becausePipe18elementsalwaysreturnazero
length.IhavealsoseenusersdoaUbendwithasmallextraspacesothataverysmallPipe16elementwillremainbetween
thetwo90degreebendsthatmakeupthe180degreeUbend,avoidingazerolengthelementproblem.
Tolistorplotusefulstressinformationfromthepipingmodelusuallyrequiresputtingselectedresultsdataintoelementdata
tables,andtheuseofappropriatePLLScommands.Fortunately,ANSYSincludesmanyoutputpossibilitiesforthetwopiping
elementtypes,sotypicalpipingcoderequirementscanbemet.Seetheelementmanualfortheseelementsforinformationon
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theavailableoutputdata.
Forobviousreasons,Ileaveproperuseofdesigncodeswithinpipinganalysisasan"exerciseforthereader.":)
PipingcreationinANSYSincludesthepossibilityofaddedmassduetofluidinthepipes,andfrominsulationaddedtothe
piping.Theinsulationadditionissimpletheusercaninputthicknessanddensity.Thisletstheaddedmasspresenceofheat
exchangerfinsbeeasilyfakedbyinputtingtheproductoffin_thicknessxfins_per_inchxfin_material_densityasthe
"insulation"density,andfinheightasthe"insulation"thickness.(Substitutetheappropriatedimensionforfins_per_inch,etc.
foryoursystemofunits.)
ThedeflectionbehaviorofpipeelementsisbasedonANSYSbeamelements.Ifaccuratevibrationbehavioristobemodeled,
atleastseveralpipeelementswillbeneededbetweensupports.Ifaccurategravityinduceddeflectionsandstressarewanted,
betterresultswillcomefromtheuseofaconsistentmassmatrix,ifelementdensitybetweensupportsislow.
DevelopinganunderstandingofthefunctionoftheANSYSelementcreationcommands(BRANCH,RUN,BEND,andsoon)
willrequirecreatingsomeelementswithmaterialanddimensionalinformation,thenreviewingwhatelementTYPEand
REALdatahasbeencreatedinthemodeldatabase.Modelreviewisenhancedbyplottingtheelementswiththe/ESHAPE
optionactive.
Wherepipingisconnectedwithslidingsupportstotheoutsideworld,theuseofgapelementsmaybeneededifslidingfriction
istobeincludedinthemodel.ANSYSdoesnotdifferentiatebetweenstaticfrictionandslidingfrictioncoefficients,soa
reasonableandconservativevalueforcoefficientoffriction(aswellascontactstiffnessofthegapelement)willhavetobe
determinedbytheanalyst.Iftherearethermalexpansionsinthepiping,stressespredictedbythemodelwillusuallybe
reducedifthegapsinthesupportstructureareincludedinthemodel(dependingonthenatureofthestructure)ratherthan
having"tight"fitsattheslidingconnections.
Tip40:GraphicalOutputfromANSYS
IfyoustartupANSYSunderWindowsNTwith"win32"selectedforgraphics,thestressplotswillbeshaded.Ifyouselect
"win32c"forthegraphics,thestressplotswillnotbeshaded,andwillusuallylookbetterwhenplottedtopaper,especially
whenplottedfromANSYSwithHardCopytoinkjetprinters.Theycanbeselectedwiththecommands/SHOW,WIN32and
/SHOW,WIN32CwhenusingtheGUI.
PlottingtothescreenwindowwithZbufferingasthehiddensurfacecontrolcangiveverysatisfactoryandoftenquicker
results.HardcopiesoftheseZbufferplots,however,willlook"pixelated",beinglimitedtoacoarseresolution.Betterlooking
hardcopiestopaperwillusuallyresultifthescreenissetto"PreciseHidden"oreventoCentroidalhiddensurfacecontrol.
Thisisusuallytrueofplotssenttoafile,forsubsequentprocessingwiththeANSYSDISPLAYprogram.
Plotscanberedirectedtofilesbyusingthe/SHOWcommand.ThispermitstheDISPLAYprogramtodovariousthingswith
theresults,includingthegenerationofanimations.UnderWindowsNT,ananimationcanbegeneratedasanAVIfile.
Ioccasionallyfindithelpfultogenerateananimationfilebasedonasinglestressplotofaloadstep,inwhichIspinthemodel
aboutthescreenXorYaxis.Youcanusethe/ANGLEcommandandthe/REPLOTcommandtoaccomplishthis.Asimple
macrodoes/REPLOTcallswiththemodelsetataseriesofanglesfrom0to360degrees.Youcanevenexecutethiscommand
ononelineusingthe"$"symboltoseparatethecommands.Thecommand
"*DO,III,0,355,5$/ANGLE,ALL,III,YS,0$/REPLOT$*ENDDO"willachievethisforyou.Thescalingofthedisplayshould
NOTbesetwith/ZOOM,OFForelsetheimagewill"moveinandout"inordertofillthescreenastheviewisrotatedset
thezoomlevelmanuallywithpickingyoumaywanttomoveoutsothatthemodelfitsinallviews.Youmayneedto
experiment.Nodeplotswithoutsymbolsareaquickwaytoassessthebehaviorwhiletesting.Iftheplotshavebeenredirected
toafilewhenthiscommandisexecuted,theplotsinthefilecanbeanimatedbytheANSYSDISPLAYprogram.
ATtheANSYS5.3level,andpresumablyabove,youcandoa/SHOW,VRMLplottogeta3DVRMLfileproducedofa3D
modelplot.Thiscouldbeastresscontourplotofa3Dmodel.WiththerightoptionsactivatedforagoodVRMLviewer
pluggedintoaWebbrowser,thestressesonthe3Dmodelcanbereviewedatanyviewinganglewiththepositioningcontrola
VRMLviewer.Thisoughttobeparticularlyinterestingonacomputerwithafast3Dgraphicsaccelerator.
ThereareutilitiesthatcanconvertaPostscriptoutputfilefromtheANSYSDISPLAYprogramintoabitmapimagefile.A
freeconversionprogramisGhostscript,onceyoufigureouthowtouseit.TheusershouldgetafrontendfortheGhostscript
program,foreaseofuse.
UnderWindowsNT,theAlt/PrintScreenkeycombinationwillcopyawindowtotheClipboard.Thiscanbeusedtocapturean
ANSYSgraphicswindowforpastingintoawordprocessordocument,orintoanimageprocessingprogramforconversiontoa
GIForotherbitmapfile.GIFfilescanbeusedinWEBpagestoshowtheresultsofANSYSwork.IrecommendGIFover
JPEGfilesforimagesfromANSYS,becauseGIFfilespreciselyreproduce256,16,and2colorimages(youhavetoreducethe
colorsto256orfewerlevelsintheimageprocessingprogram,oracceptthedefaultcolorreductionusedwhentheGIFfileis
generated.)BeforecapturingtheGraphicswindowofANSYS,setitssizetoyoursatisfaction.Bitmapimagesizechangesin
animageprocessingprogramarenotsatisfactorywiththistypeofgraphicaloutput.Ifyouwanttogetreallyfancy,generatea
GIFfilethatcontainsananimationofaANSYSmodel.(AnimatedGIFfilescanbegeneratedfromindividualimageswith
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softwarethatyoucanfindontheWeborpurchase.)
ResizingoftheANSYSgraphicswindowunderWindowsNTispainfulifamodelhasbeenplotted,becauseANSYSwants
tokeepreplottingtheimageasthewindowedgeorcornerisdragged.ThisproblemgoesawayifyousettheWindowsNT
DisplayPropertiestoNOTshowwindowcontentswhiledragging.IkeepmyPCpermanentlysetthiswayforthisreason.
Tip41:CheckNodalLoadsatBolts,Rivets,SpotWeldsandLinks
Whereverconnectionbybolts,rivets,orspotweldshasbeenrepresentedbyvarioussimplificationsorrepresentationsinan
ANSYSmodel,theloadonthoseconnectionsshouldbechecked,andcomparedwithallowables.Spotweldreviewmay
requireassessmentofmoments(especiallyaboutanaxisperpendiculartothesheetsthatarespotweldedtogether),aswellas
assessmentofforces.Onewaytodothisistoselecttheappropriatenode(s)attheconnection,selectelementson"oneside"of
thenode(s),andchecknodalloads.Theconnectiondevicesshouldnotbeoverloaded.Theholeinwhichaboltorrivetis
placedmustnotbeoverloadedortoonearanoutsideedgeofasheetorplate,either.Additionally,buildingcodesusually
forbidorsubstantiallylimit"prying"loadsonboltedandrivetedconnections.IftheFEAmodelhasgooddetail,includinggap
orcontactelements,ahighpryingloadcanbedemonstratedinsomemodels(neverassumeyourFEAmodelwill
automaticallyshowyoualltroublespots).
Similarly,linksor"spars"thatareloadedshouldbecheckedforstress,andbecheckedforbuckling.Sincealinkwillbe
representedbyoneelementthatispinconnectedattheends,andonlycrosssectionareaisentered,ANSYSwillnotgenerate
bucklinginformationaboutthelink,noteveninaLargeDisplacementanalysis.Theusermustdosomeworktocompare
compressiveloadwithcriticalbucklingload(useagoodmarginofsafety).Ausercouldwriteamacrotostepthroughalllink
elements,identifyingthecompressivestressandforce,andcalculatingbucklinginformation.TheANSYSLink10element
supportsatensiononlyandacompressiononlycapability.Whereitisnotknowninadvancewhetheralllinkswillremainin
tension,andthelinksareslender,thiselementcouldbeusedtoimplythatnolinkcansupportcompressionforwhatmaybea
"worstcase"evaluationofsomemodels.Anexamplewouldbethestaysthatsupportthemastonasailboat,withpre
tensioningimpliedwithinitialstrain.(Ifthestaysarewovenropeorsteelcable,gettingarepresentativecrossectionforthelink
elementswillrequiresomeextrawork.)
SpotweldrepresentationinlargestructuresisusuallyaninexactscienceinFEAmodeling.Spotweldswillbefound,for
example,inmanyautomobilebodystructures.Plugweldsareastrongeralternative,applicabletothickersteelsheetsand
plates.Thecrudestandquickestrepresentationofspotweldsistomergecoincidentnodesfromthetwojoinedlayerswhere
nodeshavebeenintentionallycreatedcoincidentatthespotweld.Alternatively,thenodescanbefullycoupledwiththeCP
commandiftheyarecoincident.TheycanbejoinedasarigidregionwithCERIGifthenodesareclosebutnottouchingas
whenshellelementsarekeptatthemidplanepositionoftwosheetsthatarespotweldedtogether.(RememberthatCERIGis
validonlyinsmalldisplacementanalysiscouplingwithzeromassstiffbeamelementscouldbesubstitutediflarge
displacementswereneeded.)Theshellnodescanbejoinedwithabeamelementthathaspropertiesthatreflectthediameterof
thespotweld.Theroughestapproximationwillmergeorcouplejustonenodepair.Ifnodalcouplingisused,rotationsshould
becoupledaswellastranslations,forspotweldrepresentation.NOTE:Withshellelements,readthe"drillingmode"
commentsintheANSYSElementsManualitmaybenecessarytosetaKEYOPTvaluetotransmitrotationandtorque
aboutanaxisperpendiculartotheshellelementswhenaspotweldiscrudelyrepresentedbysinglenodepaircoupling,
merging,CERIG,orbeamelements.Contactelementsbetweenthejoinedshellsormaterialsmaywantconsideration.Exactly
whattodoforspotweldrepresentationisveryproblem,industry,andmaterialdependent.Theseveryapproximatetechniques
telluslittleornothingaboutstress,fatigue,orfracturepossibilitiesnearorattheweld.Moreelaboratemodeling(morenodes
andelements,andspecialelementtypes)ofeachspotweldcouldgivemoreinformationaboutlocalstresses,whenlocal
stressesmatter.Studyingthe"crack"thatishiddenbetweenthesheetmetallayersinaspotweldisan"advancedtopic"
discussthiswithanexpertorconsultant.Idoubtthatyouwouldfindmanyspotweldsusedwithaluminum,notonlybecause
ofthedifficultyofweldingaluminum,butalsobecauseofthefatigueconsiderationsconsiderhowcommonlyaircraftuse
rivetsandmodernadhesives.
ThereisadocumentonspotweldfatigueandFEAontheMSC/Nastranwebsite.(Thereisavarietyofothergoodreadingat
thesite,too.)TakealookatthepaperinPDFformatbyHeyesandFermer,which,althoughitisMSC/Nastranrelated,is
interestingandincludesthefollowingreferences:
Rupp,A.,Strzel,K.andGrubisic,V."ComputerAidedDimensioningofSpotWeldedAutomotiveStructures".SAETechnicalPaper950711,1995.
Smith,R.A.andCooper,J.F."Theoreticalpredictionsofthefatiguelifeofshearspotwelds."FatigueofWeldedStructures,Ed.S.J.Maddox,pp.287293,The
WeldingInstitute,1988.
BritishStandardsInstitution.CodeofPracticeforFatigueDesignandAssessmentofSteelStructures.BS7608,1993.
Radaj,D."LocalFatigueStrengthCharacteristicValuesforSpotWeldedJoints."EngineeringFractureMechanics,Vol.37,No.1,pp.245250,1990.
Sheppard,S.D.andStrange,M.E."FatigueLifeEstimationinResistanceSpotWelds:InitiationandEarlyGrowthPhase."FatigueandFractureofEngineering
MaterialsandStructures,Vol.15,No.6,pp.531549,1992.
Sheppard,S.D."EstimationofFatiguePropagationLifeinResistanceSpotWelds."ASTMSTP1211,AdvancesinFatigueLifePredictionTechniques,M.R.Mitchell
andR.W.Landgraf,Eds.,pp.169185,ASTMPhiladelphia,1993.
Heyes,P.,Dakin,J.andStJohn,C."TheAssessmentandUseofLinearStaticFEStressAnalysesforDurabilityCalculations."SAETechnicalPaper951101,1995.

Ihaveneverworkedinaerospace,butIrecentlyhadalookinsideaoldhelicopterthatwasonpublicdisplay.Inadditionto
rivets,whatwaseitheracaulkingoranadhesiveappearedtohavebeenusedbetweensomeribsandtheoutershell.Thismay
preventcorrosioninthegap,andhelpreducevibrationandfrettingorgalling.Ifitispurelyasoftcaulking,itmightbeignored
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inFEA,butifitfunctionsasanadhesive,theloadontherivetsisprobablyreduced.Presumablythemanufacturerhas
standardsforthistypeofdesign.
Tip42:UseQUERYtoCheckResultswithPicking
In/POST1the"QueryResults"capabilityappliedtonodesmakesiteasytocheckonresults(stresses,strains,deflections,etc.)
bypickingnodes.ToseeanimageofthisinactionClicktoSeeImageanduseyourbrowser'sBackbuttontoreturn.Forthe
shellelementillustrated,theresultwillbereportedfortheTop,Middle,orBottom,accordingtohowtheSHELLcommand
wasissued(theusualrulesastowhatconstitutestheTopandBottomofashellelementapply).Itwilldothisevenif
PowerGraphicsisactivefortheplotonthescreen.Notethatthenodalstressesarebasedonaveragesifmorethanoneelement
thatisconnectedtoanodeisselected.Youcaninspecttheconsequenceofelementselectiononnodalstresseasilywiththis
feature.Theelementqueryreturnsonlydataonenergyanderrorestimation.
Tip43:LoadsonGeometricEntitiesOverwriteLoadsonNodesandElementsEasyErrortoMake
My"dumbmoveoftheweek"wastoretrieveanoldmodelofabeamwithredundantsupports,changetheloadonanode,and
rerunthemodel.Ithenupdatedtheelementtableresults,andusedPLLStoplottheresult,asshownbelow.Thisisaplotof
topsurfacebendingstress,withgravityloadingincluded.Bothappliedpointloadsandreactionsareshownascoloredarrows.
Stresscolorshavebeengrayscaledforprintingtoablackandwhitelaserprinter.Uponinspectionbyacoworker,henoticed
thattheresultswerethesameastheresultsthelasttimethemodelwasrun,underdifferentloading,amonthbefore.Whatwas
wrong?
Themodeldatabasefilehadbeensavedwiththeoriginalloadingandresults.Theoriginalmodelhadtheloadappliedtothe
keypoints.Ichangedtheloadonanode.WhenIranSOLVE,theloadonthekeypointOVERWROTEtheloadonthenode,
andIgottheoldresult.WhenIlistedtheappliedforceswithFLISTbeforerunningSOLVE,Isawmymodifiedloads.WhenI
listedtheappliedforceswithFLISTafterrunningSOLVE,IgottheOLDloadsonthenodes.Thesameprincipleappliesto
loadsonlines,areas,andvolumes.Presumably,ithappenswithapplieddisplacements,also.Sinceloadsongeometricentities
cannotbescaled,theremaybelittlereasontokeeptheloadsongeometricentitiesaftertheseloadshavebeentransferredto
nodesandelements,EXCEPTwhenmeshingmaybechangedinthefuture.Theuseofcomponentsisanalternativewayto
selectpartsofthemodelforloading.

Suggestion:Theusershouldaddawarningannotationstatingthatloadingisongeometricentities,beforearchivingamodel.
ShouldANSYSaddawarningmessageaboutSOLVEtransferringloadsfromgeometricentities,whichrequiresuser
acknowledgment?
Apotentiallydangerousmistakewatchforit!
Tip44:UseComponentsforLoadInput,andforResultsReview
Auserwritteninputfilecouldbeusedtoapplyloadstocomponentsthattheuserhasdefined.Anevenmoreconvenientuse
forcomponentsisforreviewingstressesduetoaload.Thecomponentscanbecalledupandstressesplottedwithouttheneed
todomanualselectionoverandoverforeachloadcase.Iwroteamacrothatautomaticallystepsthroughallcomponents,
plottingthestressesforeachcomponentfromacoupleofviewpoints,foreachloadcase.Whentheplotsweredivertedtoa
plotfile,thefilecouldbeusedinANSYSDISPLAYtoplotstressesforallcomponentsforallloadcases.Statementsinthe
macrowouldputthecomponentnameandweight(basedonvolumeonly)inanannotationthetitlealreadycontainedtheload
casename.
Tip45:SimpleSubstructuringExamplesBottomUpandTopDown
ANSYS/EDiscapableofonlyasmallnumberofMasterDegreesofFreedom(50thelasttimeIlooked),soanyuseof
substructuringinANSYS/EDwillhavetobedonewithaverysmallnumberofnodesformasterdegreeoffreedomuse.A2D
elementsuchasPLANE42maybebestformanysubstructureexperimentswithANSYS/ED.InLargeDisplacement
substructuring,rotationaldegreesoffreedomareneededatthenodes,andANSYS/EDwillonlyhandleverysmallnumbersof
nodes2DbeamsmaybebestforlearningexperimentswithLargeDisplacement.Theproblemwithusingbeamselements
forlearningisthatreviewofstressesismorecomplexelementtablesmustbeusedtoholdanddisplaybeamstress
information.Foranalternative,considerSHELL63elementswithveryfewMDOFnodes(8nodesx6DOF/node=48DOF),
inLargeDisplacementsubstructuringstudies.
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SubstructuringhasbecomemorerareinFEAwork,becauseofthecapacityofmoderncomputersforlargemodels.Thereare
stilltimeswhenitisdesirable,suchaswhengapelementsorcontactelementsareemployedinlargemodels,orwhen
extremelylargemodelsareinuse.Theuserwillhavetoemploysomeinsighttoselectsubstructuresinawaythatminimizes
theresultingnumberofdegreesoffreedomandwavefrontsize.Substructuringisarelativelytrickyprocedure,particularly
withmultiplesubstepsormultiplesubstructures.Forserioususe,theANSYSmanualsonsubstructuringshouldbepurchased
andstudiedindetail.
Thereaderisremindedthattheelementsinsideasubstructurearetreatedaslinear.Anynonlinearelementsgroupedinsidethe
substructurewillbetreatedasiftheywereintheirinitialcondition,withoutmaterialnonlinearity.Thetwosimpleexamples
belowdonotaddressuseofmultiplesubstructures,multipleloadcases,gloading,vibrations,andothercomplications.
Nonlinearity(LargeDisplacement)ismentionedonlybriefly.Ifyoudonotturntoexperthelpforsubstructurework,I
recommendsubstantialtestingofanytechniquesonsmallmodelsbeforedoinganyrealwork.
Warning:ReadtheANSYSElementsManualsectiononMATRIX50thesuperelement.Noteitswarningthatifgravityis
appliedduringthe"gen"passwhenthesuperelementiscreated,andgravityisappliedduringthe"use"pass,itwillbeapplied
TWICEtothesuperelementsubstructureDOUBLINGthegravityloadonthesuperelementregionofthemodel.Forthis
reason,gravityloadwouldhavetobeintroduced"carefully".Unfortunately,adetaileddesctiptionofthiscarefulapplicationis
notincludedinthebaseANSYSmanuals.Inthe"TopDown"examplebelow,Iset"ACEL"forthemodeltoZEROinallthree
globalcoordinatedirectionsduringthe"gen"partthatgeneratesthesuperelement.Iftheuserhasappliedgravitytothemodel
filethatisreadin,itwillbeappliedduringthe"use"partoftheanalysis,andsoonlyappliedoncetothesuperelement.This
mayaffecttheaccuracyofthesolutionIhavenotyetdonecomparisonrunstotestthis.Theexampledoesnotaddress
centrifugalloadingorothercomplications.Unfortunately,linearaccelerationloading(e.g.gravityloading)ismoreaccurately
representedwhenappliedasaloadvector.Thispresentsaproblemwhenthereareelementswithmassthatarenotincludedin
substructures.IhavenotyetdeterminedwhethergravitycouldbeappliedtoasuperelementintheGENpass,withouthavinga
superelementmassmatrixgeneratedifitcouldbedone,thenthe"accurate"applicationofgravityloadingtothe
superelementcouldbeaccomplishedwithoutcountinggravityloadtwice.Usingrotatedsuperelementsintroducesanotherset
ofproblemswiththedirectioninwhichloadsareappliedreadthemanuals.
NotethatnonzeroappliedDOFdisplacementsarenottobeappliedbyaloadvector,soMDOFshouldbeappliedtonodes
wherenonzeroDOFvaluesaretobeappliedduringtheanalysis.LoadsandconstraintscreatedintheGENpass(i.e.inaload
vector)cannotbechangedinthe"USE"pass,exceptbyuniformscaling.BrieftestingIdidsuggeststhatloadrampingDOES
workforloadvectorstheusershouldcheckthisindependently.Theexceptiontouniformscalingiswithrespecttoangular
motionreadtheANSYStutorialanduser'sguidemanualsonsubstructuring.
ThesubstructuringexamplesgiveninChapter4oftheANSYSAdvancedAnalysisTechniquesmanualleavesouttheroutine
stepsleaveouttoomany,inmyopinion.TheusershouldpurchaseanANSYSmanualandtutorialmanualonsubstructuring
beforedoingseriouswork.(ANSYS5.5hasaddedsomehelpfulcommentstoitsAdvancedUser'sGuideonSubstructuring.)
ThecommandEXPSOLhastobeaddedintheexpansionpassofthebottomupexampleinordertogetanyresultsinthe
expansionresultsfile.TheSFEcommandisneededonlyifloadswereappliedtothesuperelementifSFEisused,ithasto
pointtotheelementnumberofthesuperelementthatwasreadinwiththeSEcommandaswellastheappropriateloadstep
number.A*GETcommandcouldfindtheelementnumberofthesuperelementrightaftertheSEcommand.Thecommands
manualdoesnotexplainthisadequatelyinANSYS5.3.Thefollowingexamplesarefairlybrief.Inthebottomupexample,the
couplingcommandCPINTFisusedtojointhesuperelementwiththenonsuperelementportionofthemodel.Theexample
showsthestressesinthesuperelementaftertheexpansionpasscompletes.Theresultsoftheusepassaresavedinthefile
"use.db"forlaterreviewbytheuser.
BottomUpSubstructuringExample:
!Substructuringdemonstration*************************************
!Forinformationonly.Useatyourownrisk.
fini!finishwhateverwasactivepreviously
/clear!clearthedatabase
/title,SubstructureTechniqueTest

/filname,gen!filenameforthegenerationpass
/prep7!
et,1,shell63!elementtype1settoSHELL63
r,1,.05!shellis0.05thick
mp,ex,1,30000000!setvalueofE
blc4,.5,0.5,1.0,1.0!createarectangulararea
lesize,all,,,3,1,1!3elementsperlineusercanchangethis
amesh,1!meshtherectangle
fini
/solu
antype,subst!substructureanalysis
seopt,gen!generationpass
lsel,s,line,,2!lineatrightside
nsll,s,1!selectallnodesonline
m,all,all!makethesenodesMasterDegreesofFreedom
lsel,s,line,,4!lineatleftside
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nsll,s,1!selectallnodesonline
d,all,all!constrainnodesagainstallmotion
allsel
save!savethispartofmodelasgen.dbforexpansionpass
!thesaveneednotfollow"solve"
solve!generatesthegen.subfile
fini

/clear,nostart
/title,Shellelementsareattachedtoasuperelement
/filname,use!filenamefortheusepass
/prep7
et,1,50!elementtype1settosuperelementMATRIX50
type,1!settype1
se,gen!readinthesuperelementmatrixfromgenerationpass
!afterreadingsuperelement,createremainderofmodel:
et,2,shell63!elementtype2settoSHELL63
r,2,.05!shellis0.05thick
mp,ex,2,30000000!setvalueofE
blc4,.5,.5,1.0,1.0!createanewrectangulararea
lesize,all,,,3,1,1!3elementsperlineusercanchangethis
aatt,2,2,2!assignmat=2,real=2,type=2totheunmeshedarea
amesh,1!meshtheareanotesuperelementnodenumbersarenotused
cpintf,all!automaticallycouplecoincidentnodesatinterface
eplo
fini
/solu
ksel,s,kp,,3!keypointatupperrightcorner
nslk!selectnodeatthiskeypoint
f,all,fy,1!putaloadonnodeatupperrightcorner
nsel,all!selectallnodes
!SFE,1,1,SELV,,1!noloadappliedingenerationpass,thisstatementnotneeded
solve!resultsgointhefileuse.rst
save!saveuse.dbtoreviewresultsinthenonsuperelements
fini
/post1
/pbc,f,,1!showappliedforcesymbols
/pbc,cp,,1!shownodalcouplingsymbols
plnsol,s,eqv!plotthestressesinthenonsuperlements
fini

/clear,nostart
/filname,gen!filenamefortheexpansionpass
resume!bringsupgen.dbsavedabove
/solu
expass,on!activateexpansionpass
seexp,gen,use!optionsforthesubstructureexpansionpass
expsol,1,1!THISISNEEDED!(readaboutNUMEXPalso)**************
!OUTRES,ALL,ALL!notrequiredforoneloadstepsolution
solve
fini
/POST1
/title,StressintheSubstructure
/pbc,mast,,1!showmasterdegreesoffreedomsymbols
/pbc,u,,1!showdisplacementconstraints
/pbc,rot,,1!showrotationconstraints
plnsol,s,eqv!lookatthestressinthesuperelement

Intheaboveexample,theusercanchangethemeshdensity.Thenumbersandpositionsofnodesalongthecommoninterface
betweenthesuperelementandthenormalportionofthemodelhavetobethesameforCPINTFtosuccessfullyconnectthe
twopartsofthemodel.
Themodeliscreatedwiththe"bottomup"approach.Inthe"use"partofthisexample,thesuperelementisreadinwithSE
beforetheremainderofthemodeliscreated.Iftheremainderofthemodelwascreatedbeforethesuperelementwasreadin,
thentheuserwouldhavetoaddstatementstocontrolthenodenumbering,sothatnoneofthemasternodescominginwiththe
superelementwouldreplicatethenodenumbersoftheexistingelements.Ifthesuperelementhasmasternodesthathavethe
samenodenumbersastheexistingmodel,themodelnodeswillberedefined,andamesswillresult.Checkthemanual,and
lookattheSETRANcommandtoactonthesuperelement,orattheNUMOFFcommandtoactontheexistingmodel,to
preventnodereplicationproblems.ThePARSAVandPARREScommandscanbeusedtoputmodelparameterinformation
intoacodedfile,andretrieveitafterthe/CLEARcommandhasbeenissued.Themaximumnodenumbercanbeputintoa
parameterby*GETandputintoafilewithPARSAVduringthegenerationpass.Itcanberetrievedduringtheusepassby
PARRES,andusedtoguidetheoffsetofnodenumbersineitherthealreadygeneratedsuperelementwithSETRAN,orinthe
remainderofthemodelwithNUMOFF.
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TopDownSubstructuringExample
ThefollowingexampleisNOTasubstituteforadetailedunderstandingofANSYSsubstructuring.Itisfordemonstration
purposesonly.GettheANSYSSubstructuringTutorialguideandtheSubstructuringGuideforseriouswork.
Thetopdownsubstructuringtechniquemakesitpossibletotakeanexistingmodel,andhaveaportionofitchangedintoa
substructure.Thiscanboostefficiencyinanumberofways,suchasdealingwithcontactsurfacesandgapelements,and
handlingverylargemodelsthathavealreadybeengenerated.Intheexamplepresentedbelow,amodeldatabaseisreadinfrom
auserpreparedfilenamed"model.db".Thismodelin"model.db"musthavehadaportionoftheelementsgroupedintoa
componentcalled"super"usingthecommandCM,SUPER,ELEM.Thiscomponentwillberenderedintoasubstructure.The
intendedsubstructureshould,ingeneral,consistoflinearelements.Themodelmusthavehadconstraintsandloadsapplied.
TheSFEcommandusedinthisexampleexpectsloadstoexistinsidethesuperelement,butshouldworkwithoutthem.Some
nodescanhavebeendeclaredbytheusertobemasterdegreesoffreedom.Inordertocreatemasterdegreesoffreedom
throughtheGUI,theanalysistypehastobeSubstructure.Inordertousetheexamplebelow,theanalysistypewillhavetobe
changedbacktothetypedesiredaftercreatingextramasterdegreesoffreedomusuallytostaticanalysis.Notethatfor
dynamicanalysis,masterdegreesoffreedomareneededthroughoutthesubstructuretheyarenotcreatedbytheexample
below.Intheexamplepresented,masterdegreesoffreedomareautomaticallygeneratedforthenodesontheinterfacebetween
thecomponent"super"andtheremainderofthemodel.(Thereisnocheckforredundancywithuserdeclaredmasterdegrees
offreedom.)Thefullmodelisusedtheanalysisisnotlimitedtotheselectedsetofelementsinthefile"model.db"whenitis
loaded.Theexamplewillautomaticallyperformthesubstructuregenerationandthesubsequentanalysis,andwillplotresults
toplotfiles.Ihaveaddedaplotoftheresultsforthefullmodel,withresultsfilesforboththesubstructureandthenon
substructurebeingread.Thereisnoerrorcheckingintheexample.Thisexamplehashadlimitedtestingletmeknowabout
errors.
Whendealingwithgapelementsand/orcontactsurfaces,theusualprocedurewouldbetoselectallthelinearelementsinthe
model(notthegaporthecontactelements),andinthisexample,callthemthecomponent"super"forsubstructuring.Because
thesubstructurematrixisusuallymuchsmallerthanthefullmodelmatrix,theiterationsrequiredforconvergencewithgap
andcontactelementswillusuallyrunfarfasterthaniterationsinvolvingthefullmodel,oncethesubstructurematrixis
generated.Thismakesotherwiseinfeasiblemodelingintoapossibility.
Indealingwithextremelylargemodels,wheretheobjectiveissimplytodealwiththesize,notnonlinearelementslikegap
elements,theremaylittleadvantageinturningtheentirelargemodelintoasubstructureitcouldtakeaslongtogeneratethe
superelementastosolvethemodelforoneloadcase.Itwouldbemorecommontoturnportionsofthemodelintooneormore
substructures.Theconnectingregionsbetweenthesubstructureswouldbechosentoinvolveassmallanumberofnodesas
possible,tominimizesubstructurematrixsize,andmodelwavefrontsize.
AlthoughaMATRIX50substructuresuperelementcanundergoLargeDisplacement,itwillactinternallyasalinearelastic
structure.MethodstouseMATRIX50innonlinearapplicationsshouldbethoroughlytestedbytheuserbeforeapplication,
includingplotsofdisplacementandstresstolookforcompatibilityinresultsamongthesubstructureregionsandtheremainder
ofthemodel,andchecksthatreactionforcesequalthetotalappliedforces.IhaveencountereddifficultiescombiningLarge
DisplacementwithSubstructuringseetheimagebelow.
Tousethefollowingexample:(1)Createamodel,and(2)selectaportionoftheelementstobecomethesubstructure.Give
thisselectionsetofelementsthecomponentname"super"withthecommand"CM,SUPER,ELEM".(3)Themodelshould
haveloadsandconstraintsapplied,andtheanalysistypedefined.Theanalysistypemustbeacceptableforsubstructureuse.(4)
Savethemodelwiththedatabasename"model.db".(5)Calltheroutinebelowwiththe/INPUTcommand.Graphicalresults
forthelastloadsubstepintheresultsfileswillbeplottedtodiskfiles.Ifruninteractively,theuserwillhavetoclickthe"OK"
buttonafewtimes,andaplottothescreenshouldresultwhendone.Expectwarningmessagesrelatedtopartialelement
selection,andtoreadingfromresultsfiles.NOTE:ThisexamplesetsgravityloadtoZEROinthe"gen"portionofthe
analysisotherwise,gravitywouldbeDOUBLEDonthesuperelementiftheuser'smodelincludesgravityseetheElements
ManualforMATRIX50.(Ifgravityisapplied,besureadensitywasappliedtothematerialsinthemodel.Ifthereisnogravity,
theexamplecanhavethe"seopt"commandchangedtoNOTgeneratethemassmatrixforthesuperelement.)
TheloadingonMDOFnodeswouldalsobeDOUBLEDifitwasusedinthesuperelementloadvector,andusedinthe"USE"
pass.Forthisreason,correctionstothisroutinehavebeenadded(Nov.2,Nov.41998).Acomplicationforsubstructuring:Only
amasternodefromacouplednodesetoraconstraintequationnodegroupcanbeusedasanMDOFforsubstructuring.This
complicationisNOTaddressedinthepresentexample.Theexampleisforstressanalysis.Itdoesnotaddresscentrifugal
loading.Toaddressothertypesofanalyis,startwithalookattheANSYSAdvancedUser'sGuide,andlookatthetableof
loadsapplicableinasubstructureanalysis.
AutomatingasubstructureanalysisissomewhattrickythisfilewillNOTbeapplicabletoalltypesofanalyses.Ihavebeen
testingitwithsimplestressexamples.The"POSTPROCESS"passseemstoworkinloadingstressesfromthetwodifferent
sourcesforviewing,"USE.RST"and"GEN.RST",althoughIhaven'tseenthisdocumented.ItriedtheSUBSETcommand,but
wasgettingwarningmessagesaboutthenodalforceandotherresultsnotnecessarilybeingcorrect.Ihaven'tthoroughly
investigatedthis.HaveacloselookathowthesubstepsareoutputwithOUTRESandselectedforexpansion:
!"TopDown"SubstructuringExampleInDevelopment
!
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!Forinformationonly.Useatyourownrisk.
!Thereisnoerrorcheckinginthisexample.
!Warningmessageswillbegenerated.
!ANSYS/EDsupportsveryfewmasterdegreesoffreedom.
!
!WARNING:GravitywouldbeappliedTWICEtothesuperelementifACEL
!werenotzeroedinthe"gen"pass.Formodelsthatdonot
!includeinertialloads,changethe"seopt"commandtogenerate
!STIFFNESSonly.SeetheElementsmanualforMATRIX50.
!ThisexampleNOTdesignedforotherinertialloads.
!
!WARNING:Inthe"use"pass,nodalloadsonsuperelementMDOFnodes
!aredeletedsoloadsonMDOFnodesarenotcountedTWICE.
!FDELEandDDELEareused.
!
!Themodeltobeprocessedisinthefile"model.db".Theusermust
!haveidentifiedtheregiontobesubstructuredasthecomponent"super"
!withthecommand"CM,SUPER,ELEM"andsavedthemodelas"model.db".
!Anythingnonlinearinthecomponent"super"willbetreatedaslinear.
!Analysistypeisdefinedbythefile"model.db"mustbeacceptabletype.
!The"USE"passhasOUTRESsettowriteALLsubstepstotheRSTfile.
!The"EXPAND"passhasa*DOloopthatexpandssolutionsatALLsubsteps.
!Themodelmusthavehaditsloadingandconstraintsapplied.
!Thisexampleisforoneloadcaseonly.SomeMasterDegreesofFreedom
!canhavebeenappliedbytheuserneededfordynamicanalysis.
!MasterDegreesofFreedomNodeswillbegeneratedbetweenthesubstructure
!andtheremainderofthemodel.Nocheckforredundancyisperformed.
!UnlessthisfileisrunBATCH,theuserwillhavetoclickthe"OK"button
!whenevertheCLEARcommandisexecuted,andiferrormessagesappear.
!

fini!finishwhateverwasactivepreviously
/clear!clearthedatabase

/COM,############GEN############
/COM,############GEN############
/COM,############GEN############

/show,part1,grp!fileforstoringplots
resume,model,db!readthemodeltobeprocessed
!allloadsandconstraintsmustalreadybeapplied
!theSFEcommandisemployedinthe"use"passto
!applyloadstothesubstructure
!onlyonesubstructuregeneratedinthisexample
/filname,gen!filenameforthegenerationpass
/prep7
allsel
*get,nmx,node,,num,max!getthehighestnodenumber
*get,nmn,node,,num,min!getthelowestnodenumber
cmsel,s,super!selecttheelementsidentifiedasthecomponent"super"
nsle!selectnodesoftheseelements
esel,invert!selecttheelementsthatarenotpartof"super"
nsle,r!reselectnodesconnecting"super"toremainderofmodel
m,all,all!makethesenodesMasterDegreesofFreedom(MDOF)
cmsel,s,super!selectthe"super"elementsagain
nsle!selecttheirassociatednodes
nsel,r,m,,nmn,nmx!reselectallofthesenodesthatareMDOF(don'twantnodes
!outsidethe"super"thattheusercalledMDOF)
fdele,all,all!deleteloadsontheseMDOFnodesfor"gen"
ddele,all,all!deletedisplacementloadsontheseMDOFnodesfor"gen"
nsle!selectnodesofthecomponent"super"
/pbc,mast,,1
/pbc,f,,1
/pbc,m,,1
/pbc,u,,1
/pbc,rot,,1
/title,Elementsofthetobesubstructure
eplo!plottheelementsofthetobesubstructure
fini
/solu
antype,subst!substructureanalysis
seopt,gen,2!generationpassgenerateSTIFFNESSandMASSmatrices
!ifnoinertialload,changesettingtoSTIFFNESSonly
save!savethispartofmodelas"gen.db"forexpansionpass
!SAVEneednotfollowthecommand"solve"
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!component"super"anditsnodescurrentlyselected
acel,0,0,0!setgravitytoZeroAFTER"save"butBEFORE"solve"
solve!generatesthe"gen.sub"file
fini

/COM,############USE############
/COM,############USE############
/COM,############USE############

/clear,nostart
/show,part2,grp
resume,model,db!bringthemodelinagain.restores"acel"ifany.
!"model.db"hastodefinetheanalysistypeitshouldnot
!beasubstructuregeneration
/filname,use!filenamefortheusepass
/prep7
allsel
*get,nmn,node,,num,min
*get,nmx,node,,num,max
cmsel,s,super!selecttheportionintendedforthesubstructure
esel,invert!selecttheremainderofthemodel
nsle!selectnodesoftheremainderofthemodel
nsel,a,m,,nmn,nmx!addMDOFnodesforvisibility(notneededforsolve)
*get,ntp,etyp,,num,max!getmaxelementtypenumberinthemodelinparameterntp
et,ntp+1,50!newelementtypentp+1settosuperelementMATRIX50
type,ntp+1!settypentp+1beforereading"creating"superelementwithSE
se,gen!readinthesuperelementmatrixfromgenerationpass
!masterD.O.F.nodesalreadyareattheinterface
!noneedtocouplecoincidentinterfacenodesthisexample
!newelementnumberassignedshouldbeabovemaximum
*get,snm,elem,,num,max!gettheelementnumberofthesuperelementjustloaded
!neededforSFEloadingthesuperelementbelow
!extraworkneededifmorethanonesuperelement
/pbc,all,,0
/pbc,f,,1
/pbc,m,,1
/pbc,mast,,1
/title,Remainderofmodelattachedtosubstructure
eplo!plottheelementsinthenonsubstructureplus"outline"view
!ofthesubstructure
fini
/solu!"model.db"analysistypeforsubstructureisneeded
SFE,snm,1,SELV,,1!loadappliedingenerationpasswasin"model.db"
!applyloadtotosuperelementnumber"snm"foundabove
!extraworkneededifmorethanonesuperelement
outres,all,all!saveresultsfortheallsubstepsofloadstep
!changehereand"EXPAND"belowifdesiredtochange
solve!resultsgointhefile"use.rst"
save!save"use.db"tooptionallyreviewnonsubstructureresults
fini!"use.db"and"use.rst"nowcontainnonsubstructureresults
/post1
set,last!plotresultsattheendoftheloadstep
/title,Stressinthenonsubstructureelements
plnsol,s,eqv!shownodalstressinthenonsubstructure
*get,lastlstp,active,,set,lstp!getthelastloadstepnumber
*get,lastsbst,active,,set,sbst!getthelastsubstepnumber
parsav,scalar,parameterstore,parm!storetheminfileforretrievalbelow
fini

/COM,############EXPAND############
/COM,############EXPAND############
/COM,############EXPAND############

/clear,nostart
/show,part3,grp
/filname,gen!filenamefortheexpansionpass
resume!bringsup"gen.db"savedabove,"super"isselected
parres,new,parameterstore,parm!retrievedataonlastloadstep/substep
!parresmustfollowresumestatement
/solu
expass,on!activateexpansionpass
seexp,gen,use!optionsforthesubstructureexpansionpass
*do,iii,1,lastsbst
expsol,lastlstp,iii,,yes!expandresultatlastloadstep/substep
!(readaboutNUMEXPalso)
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outres,all,all!alldatawritten
solve
*enddo
fini!"gen.rst"nowcontainssubstructureresults,laststep
/POST1
/title,StressintheSubstructure
plnsol,s,eqv!shownodalstressinthesubstructure
save,stresses_in_super,db
fini

/COM,############POSTPROCESS############
/COM,############POSTPROCESS############
/COM,############POSTPROCESS############
!
!WARNING:Thefollowingismyowninventionuseatyourownrisk.
!WarningmessageswillbegeneratedbyANSYS.
resume,model,db
/show,part4,grp
/post1
cmsel,s,super
nsle
file,gen,rst
set,last
esel,invert!SelecttheelementsNOTinsubstructurecomponent"super"
nsle!Selectthenodesoftheseelements
file,use,rst!Pointtofile"use.rst"thatcontainstherestoftheresults
set,last!Readinloadstepdataforselectedelements,lastsubstep
esel,all!Selectallelements
nsle!Selectthenodesoftheelements
/pbc,all,,0
/pbc,f,,1
/pbc,m,,1
/pbc,mast,,1
/title,StressintheFullStructure
plnsol,s,eqv!Shownodalstressforthefullmodel.
!Becauseofaveraging,PLNSOLstressesontheinterfaceofthe
!substructureandnonsubstructureregionscannotexactly
!matchvaluesfortheselocationsplottedseparately,above.
!Elementstressanddisplacementshouldexactlymatchin
!asmalldisplacementlinearanalysis.
save,stress_allelem,db!Savethemodelwithallstressesonelements
/show,term!Backtoscreenonlyworksifusedinteractively
plnsol,s,eqv!ShowthestressresultsforallelementsifinteractiveANSYS

The"topdown"examplesavestheresultsofthe"use"passandthe"expansion"passindatabasefiles.Thesecanbeloadedto
inspectresultsinthenonsubstructureandinthesubstructurepartsofthemodel,respectively.Ifthefileisruninteractively,the
userwillhavetoclickthe"OK"buttoneachtimethe/CLEARcommandexecutes,andforavarietyofwarningmessagesthat
canappear.ItmaybepreferredtorunthefileunderBatchcontrol,andtolaterreviewtheresultsintheplotfiles,andinthe
resultingdatabasefiles.Remembertocheckforerrorandwarningmessages.Becauseofthecomplexityofsubstructure
analysis,theusershouldrunchecksonbalanceofforces,anddoothertypicalcheckingofresults.
LargeDisplacementNonlinearityandSubstructure:TheANSYS5.5AdvancedUser'sGuide,Chapter5givesmorehelpon
largerotation(largedisplacement,geometricallynonlinear)substructuredanalysisthanatthe5.3level.Notethecommentthat
constraintsshouldbeappliedinthe"use"pass,notinthe"gen"pass,forlargerotationanalysis.
Ifthefile"model.db",usedintheaboveexample,hashadLargeDisplacementactivatedwith"NLGEOM,ON"thena
nonlinearsolutionwillbesought.Convergencecriteria,rampingofloading,substeps,andothernonlinearcontrolsmaybe
desired.Becausethesubstructurewillactlinearlyinternally,convergencemaynotbeaseasyastheuserwouldwish.Whenthe
rundoesconverge,theresultswillnotbeanexactmatchfortheresultwithoutsubstructuring.Theoutputplotsshouldbe
examinedtoseeiftheyread"Substep999999",indicatingfailuretoconverge.IfyoutesttheaboveexamplewithLarge
Displacement,useaLargeDisplacementmodelthatconvergeseasilywithoutasubstructureapproach.Anattempthasbeen
madeintheaboveexampletocopewithamodelthatdevelopstheLargeDisplacementsolutioninaloadstepcontainingaset
ofsubsteps.Thisisthereasonforstatementsthatrecordthelastloadstepandsubstepnumbers.However,theexampledoes
NOTreserveapplicationofallDOFconstraintsforthe"USE"pass,asrecommendedintheANSYS5.5guide,soitwillNOT
beappropriateformodelswithconstraintsappliedtononMDOFnodesinthesubstructureregion.Theusercangetaroundthis
bymanuallyassigningMDOFtoallthenodestowhichconstraintsareappliedinthecomponent"super",in"model.db".
ThemasterdegreesoffreedomforthesuperelementmusthaverotationaldegreesoffreedomforLargeDisplacementwork.
TheusercantryassigningMASS21elementstothemasterdegreeoffreedomnodesiftheelementsinthemodeldonothave
rotationaldegreesoffreedom.TheMASS21elementscanhaveaREALvaluethatcontainszerovaluesforthemassesand
massmomentsofinertia.Thiswillintroducetherequisiterotationaldegreesoffreedom.
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WhenusingelementslikeSHELL63,whichhaverotationaldegreesoffreedom,Ihaveencounteredaratheroddresult:The
LargeDisplacementsolutionfortheelementsinthesuperelement(storedin"gen.rst"intheexample)isforthedisplacement
ofthesubstructurenodeswithrespecttoacoordinatesystemembeddedinthesuperelement,notwithrespecttotheglobal
axes.Thisisnotthecaseforsmalldisplacementsolutions,whichappeardisplacedcorrectly.Sincethesuperelementcan
undergolargerotation,thedisplacementthatisreportedandplottedforthenodesinsidethesuperelementwillbefarsmaller
thanthedisplacementreportedandplottedfortheremainderofthemodel,inaLargeDisplacementsolution.Thisisbecause
thecoordinatesystemembeddedinthesuperelementmoveswiththesuperelement.Inlimitedtesting,theSEQVstressplots
appeartobeOK,iftheloadstepthatistobeexpandedisidentifiedproperly.Ihavenotinvestigatedwhathappenstostress
componentsintheGlobalandElementCoordinateSystems.Rotationaltransormationofthestressandstraintensorscouldbe
verycomplex.SeetheimagebelowforaresultcombiningSHELL63elements,substructuring,andLargeDisplacement.
Apossiblevisualdisplacementfix(forthedisplacementplotproblemof6DOFelementsinLargeDisplacementsubstructures)
istotransformthedisplacedpositioncoordinatesofthenonMDOFnodesinthesuperelementonthebasisoftherotationsand
translationsoftheoriginofthesuperelementinGlobalCoordinates.TheoriginofthesuperelementwillbetheMDOFnode
thatreportsnodisplacementsorrotationsinsidethesuperelement(insuperelementcoordinates)itappearstobetheMDOF
nodewiththelowestnodenumber.Applyingatransformationproperlywillrequirededucingorlookinguptheorderofthe
sequenceofrotationsthatANSYSusesinLargeDisplacementwork,orthatANSYSusestoreportnoderotations.Areading
oftheTheoryManualsuggeststhatANSYSinternallyusesquaternionsforlargedisplacementrotationsinspace.Thiswould
befortheusualreasonthatquaternionsdonothaveasingularityinanyorientation,incontrasttoEulerangles.Itappearsthat
therotationsreportedatanoderepresent3Dcomponentsofasinglerotationvector,ratherthanEulerorotherangles,sothe
transformationwillneedtobebasedonrotationaboutavectorthatstartsataknownpointinspace(theoriginofthe
superelement),plustranslations.Iwillbeworkingonthisasmynextprojectforthiswebpage.Thereportedrotationmaybe
complicatedbyrotatednodalcoordinatesystems(NROTAT)orsuperelementsthattheuserhasemployed...thiswillrequire
checking.Readerfeedbackwouldbeappreciated.IfIgetanywherewiththis,Iwilllimitmyselftodisplacementsonly.
Transformingstresstensorswouldbeabitmuch!

Theaboveplotwasgeneratedusingtheabovesample/INPUTfileonaLargeDisplacementmodelofacantileverbeam
createdwithSHELL63elements.AsimilardisplacementdiscontinuityresultswithBEAM4elementsinasimilarapplication,
asshownintheimagesbelow:

Tip46:PlotAppliedTemperatures
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Inathermalstressanalysis,temperatureswillbeappliedasa"load".TemperaturescanbeappliedtonodeswiththeBF
command,toelementswiththeBFEcommand,orimpliedusingothercommands.(ChecktheBFEcommandandtheelement
typeintheANSYSdocumentationfordetailsonusingBFE.)Acoloredelementplotofappliedtemperaturescanbegenerated
byusingthecommands/PBF,TEMP,,1andEPLO,whichShowsbodyforceloadsascontoursondisplays,pertheANSYS
Commandsmanual.
Whenusingbeam,link,andpipeelements,iftheelementthicknessisshownwiththe/ESHAPEcommandbeforeexecuting
EPLO,temperaturescanbemadevisiblewithcontourcoloringfortheselineelements.Itmaybedesiredtoexaggeratetheir
displayedthicknesswith/ESHAPEinordertomakethetemperatureinformationmorevisible.
Tip47:SkippingOverStatementsinanANSYSInputFile
ANSYScommandscanbedevelopedinafilethatisexecutedwiththe/INPUTcommand.Thiscanpermitveryflexibleand
sophisticateduseoftheprogram.Hereisawellknownprogrammingtrickthatcanbeusedtotemporarilyskipoverpartofan
ANSYSinputfile.Setaparameter("SKIP"inthisexample)toavaluethattellsan*IFstatementtojumpoverasectionof
codethatyouwanttoskip.Thisismuchquickerthancommentingoutablockofcode,orcuttingandpastingasaninputfileis
developedandmodified.*IFstatementsthatusethisparametercouldbelocatedinanumberofpositionsintheinputfile
thispermitschangingthevalueofoneparameteratthebeginningoftheinputfiletocauseskippingofinputcodeinavariety
oflocations.
!InputcodetoANSYS...
!...
SKIP=1!Setto1toskip,0torunthecodeinsidethe*IF...*ENDIFcommands
*IF,SKIP,EQ,0,THEN
!ANSYScommandsthatareoptionallyexecuted...
*ENDIF
!...morecodefollows

Sincethereisnocompilationoftheinputfile,the"skip"techniqueuseslittletimeinchoosingtoexecuteorbypasstheblocked
offcommands(ANSYSstillhastoreadtheblockedoutcodeinordertocheckoffthenumberof*IFand*ENDIFcommands).
Tip48:StaticAnalysisFollowedbyTransientAnalysis
TransientanalysisbyANSYScanmodeltransientvibrations,orthedynamicsofaflexiblemechanisminmotion,inaddition
tomorecomplexeffects.Initialconditionscanbeapplied,followedbytransientanalysis.Onetypeofinitialconditionisazero
velocityinitialpositionwithstoredenergy.Thestoredenergycanbepotentialenergyofposition,elasticenergy,orboth.
Anotherinitialconditionisaninitialvelocity.Amodelcanhavebothinitialvelocityandstoredenergy.Astaticanalysismay
bedesiredtodevelopthestoredelasticenergy,beforestartingatransientanalysis.Rememberthatfortransientanalysis,the
massofthemodelmustbeinputintheappropriatemassunits,notasweight.
ThefollowingANSYSinputfileillustratestheexecutionofalinearelasticstaticanalysisthatsetsaninitialcondition,
followedbyatransientanalysis.Themodelisofacantileveredbeamthathasaforceappliedtothefreeendinastatic
analysis.Thetransientvibrationthatresultswhentheforceonthefreeendisremovedisobtained.Nogravityisused.No
dampinghasbeenapplied,andANSYSdefaultsforthenumericalintegrationareimplicit.Thisisalinearelasticsolution,so
thenumericalintegrationshouldbestable,giventheANSYSalgorithmused.Thetimesubstepsizeforthetransientanalysis
shouldbesmallerthan1/20oftheperiodofthefirstfewmodesofvibration.(TheusercouldtweaktheANSYSnumerical
integrationparameterssothatveryhighfrequencyresponsemodesarenumericallydamped.StabilityinLargeDisplacement
nonlineartransientanalysisisprobablynotguaranteed,althoughdampingandsmalltimesubstepsizeshouldhelp.)Theuseof
aconsistentmassmatrix(default)shouldingeneralyieldmoreaccurateresultsthanareducedmassmatrixiftheelement
densityiscoarse,howevertheuseofareducedmassmatrixmayshortenthesolutiontimeinlargemodels.Themovementof
thetipofthebeamisplotteditisnotaperfectsinusoidbecausetheinitialdeflectedshapeofthebeamisnotanexactmatch
toamodeofvibration.
!Transientvibration,cantileverbeam,"plucking"thetip.
!Forillustrationpurposesonly.Useatyourownrisk.
fini
/clear!Startfresh
/title,TransientVibrationofCantileverBeam
/PREP7
ET,1,BEAM3!2Dmodelofbeam
R,1,1,1,1!beamcrossectionproperties
MP,EX,1,30000000!Young'smodulus,BINunits
MP,DENS,1,7.34E04!beammassdensity,BINunits
K,,0.0!keypoints
K,,10.!10"long
L,1,2!line
LESIZE,ALL,,,8,1,1!8elementdivisions
LMESH,1!meshwithbeamelements
FINISH

/SOLU
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ANTYPE,4!Selecttransientanalysis
F,2,FY,50000!applydownforceonRHSnode(unrealisticallyhigh)
d,1,ux!constrainfirstnodeatLHS,inXdirection
d,1,uy!inYdirection
d,1,rotz!andconstrainrotation

time,0.0005!smalltimeincrement,static
OUTRES,ALL,ALL!saveallsubstepresults
timint,off,all!notimeintegrationtreatasSteadyState
nsubst,2!twosubstepstoimplyzeroinitialvelocityfortransient
kbc,1!stepchangeload
solve!findthestaticdeformedshape

TIME,.002!timeatendoftransient(predeterminedtoshowoscillation)
NSUBST,100!timestepssmallenoughtoshowvibration
KBC,1!stepchangeload
fdele,all,all!deleteforceshowvibrationafterforceisreleased
OUTRES,ALL,ALL,!saveallsubstepresults
timint,on,all!activatetransientanalysis
solve!findthetransientvibrationofthebeam
fini

/post1
/dscale,1!automaticscaling,toeasilyviewfinalresult
pldisp,1!showfinaldeformedshape
FINISH

/POST26
NSOL,2,2,U,Y,UY!resultsvariableforplotting
/title,TransientVibrationofCantileverBeam:MotionofTip
PLVAR,2!graphoscillationofthetipofthebeam
FINISH

NOTE:TheuseoftheTIMINTcommandcontrolsactivationofthestaticandtransientportionsofthesolution.Thestatic
solutionisobtainedattwotimesubstepssothataninitialvelocityofzeroisimplied.Ananimationofthetransientsolutioncan
begeneratedforthefullbeamin/POST1,showingthetransientvibrationinaction.Forananimation,theuserwillhavetoset
asatisfactorydisplacementscalingvaluewiththecommand/DSCALE,notuseautomaticscaling.Intheanimationofthe
LargeDisplacementmotionsofamechanism,a/DSCALEsettingof1.0willgenerallybewanted,sothatanglesofrotation
lookcorrect.Azoomsettingotherthan/ZOOM,OFFwillusuallyyieldabetteranimation.
Tip49:FileCompressionforModelStorage
IfnorestartistobeexecutedonanANSYSmodel,itwilloftenbesufficienttosaveonlythemodeldatabasefile(*.DB)and
theresultsfile(*.RST)whenarchivinganANSYSmodel.Ifthemodelwasgeneratedfromcommandinputfiles,thesewill
requirestorage.Ifonlyoneloadstepwaswrittentotheresultsfile,theresultsfilemaynotrequirearchivaliftheresultsare
alsocontainedinthedatabasefile.Loadcase,graphicsoutput,andotherfilesmaybewantedforarchival.Thedatabase,
graphics,andresultsfilescanbeextremelylarge.Theyoftencompresswellusingdatacompressionprogramssuchasthe
UNIXcompressandgziputilities(gzipismorepowerfulthancompress).OnWindowscomputers,gzipisalsoavailablefor
NT(ithandleslongfilenames),inadditiontothesharewareZIPutilities,thoughyouwillneedtodigontheInternettofind
gzipforWindowsNThavealookatGZIPonthewebandlookforinstructionsandtheversionforyourcomputer(test
beforeuse).InFEAwork,Ifindtheadvantageofthegziputilitytobethatthecompressedfilenameissimplytheoriginalfile
namewith.gzappended,andtheuncompressedfileisremoved.Thedatastoragerequirementmaybereducedbyroughly25%
to80%,bothontheharddrive,andontapeorremovabledisk.Thedatacompressionissignificantlymoreeffective,though
muchslower,thanwiththediskcompressionschemethatcanbeusedbyWindowsNT4.0,whichalsodoesnotkeepthefiles
compressedwhentheyaresentoveranetwork,orotherwisemovedaround.Hint:Makesurethatthosewhowilldecompress
thefilesinfuturewillknowhowtodoit!
Tip50:OrganizingLargeFEAModels
ExaminingtheresultsofanFEAmodel,selectingandmodifyingportionsofthemodel,andkeepingarecordofwhatMAT
(material)andREAL(shellthickness,beamsize,etc.)valueswereusedforvariouspartsofamodelbecomesverydifficult
withlargeFEAmodels.Averylargestructurerepresentedwithhundredsorthousandsofindividualbeamelementsorareas
meshedwithshellelements,willrequirethattheidentities,materialsandREALsettingsforlargenumbersofpartsbe
organizedandrecorded.
Thereisnoonewaytodothis.Individualparts,orgroupsofparts,canbedefinedtobecomponentsthatareaccessedby
namesofupto8characters.Thesepartscanbegeometricentities,elements,ornodes.Macroscanstepthroughallthe
componentsusing*GETcommands.Collectionsofcomponentscanbegroupedintocomponentassemblies.Anindividual
assemblycouldbecreatedforthosecomponentsthataretobeselectedundercertaincircumstances,foranalysisorforresults
review.Theuseofcomponentsmakesitpossibletorefertoeitherapartorasubassemblybyonename,andeasytoselectit.
Thecreationofacomponentcansaveasetofentitiesthatwereselectedwithacertainsequenceofselectlogic,andbeusedin
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theenhancementoftheANSYSselectlogicprocess.Thedatabasecomponentcommandsare:CM,CMDELE,CMEDIT,
CMGRP,CMLIST,andCMSEL.Amacrocanbewrittenthatwillstepthroughallcomponents,plottingthem,includingthe
componentnameandinformationonitintheplottitle,oranannotation.
EitherREALvaluesforelementsandentities,orMATvalues,canbeusedtoidentifypartsinamodelwithnumbers.(The
elementtypewillhavetosupportaREALvalueifaREAListobecreatedforthatelementtype.However,aREALvaluecan
beforcedonanelementeveniftheelementtypedoesnotadmitassignmentofaREAL.Thiscanbedonewhencreatingan
element,appliedtothegeometricentitythatistobemeshedwiththeelement,orforcedafterthefactwithEMODIF.When
EMODIFisused,becautionedthatinaremeshingtheREALassignedtothegeometricentitywillbeused.Whentheelement
typedoesnotacceptaREALsetting,theRsettingcansimplybeleftblank.Inthatcase,thecommandsNUMMRG,ALLand
NUMCMP,ALLcanmakeamessandshouldnotbeusedinthisallinclusiveformsticktospecificformssuchas
NUMMRG,KP.)Inamodelmadeofshellelementsorbeamelements,forexample,eachplateorbeamcouldbedescribedwith
itsownREALvalue,eventhoughtheremaybemanyplatesorbeamsofagiventhicknessorsizewithinthemodel.Wherea
groupofpartswillalwaysbechosenwiththesameREALvalue,theycouldshareoneREALsetting.Thismakeschangingthe
shellthicknessorthebeamcharacteristicsverysimple,andprovideseasypartselectionwithcommandslikeESEL,ASEL,or
LSEL,asappropriate,accordingtotheirREALvalue,orarangeofREALvalues.Anarray(seethe*DIMcommand)could
correlateREALvalueswithotherinformation,suchaspartnames(withan8characterlimit).Thesameapproachcanbetaken
withthesettingofMATvaluesfordescribingthematerialproperties.Usingmaterialnumbersforpartidentification,however,
couldgetcumbersome,becausetherearesuchalargenumberofindividualmaterialpropertysettings,andtheymaybe
temperaturedependentinsomemodels,orincludematerialnonlinearity.
IfindithelpfulNOTtosetanyofthegeometricentitiesorelementsinalargemodeltoaMATorREALvalueofone.Oneisa
defaultvaluethatissometimesassignedwhennovaluehasbeenassignedbytheuser.Geometricentitiesmayhaveavalueof
zerowhennothinghasbeenassigned.IcanthenselectthingsthathaveaMATorREALofzerooronetocheckonwhetherI
haveforgottentoassignavaluetoanypartofthemodel.PlotswithcoloringassignedaccordingtoREALorMATwillhelpin
checkingamodel.
WhenREALorMATvalueshavebeenusedtodifferentiatebetweendifferentpartsofamodel,theusermustbecarefulnotto
useaNUMCMP,ALLorNUMMRG,ALLcommandonentitynumbering,becauseitwillcompressormergeoutREALand
MATvalues.Thiswilldestroytheidentificationscheme.TheNUMCMPcommandwillhavetobecalledwiththespecific
quantitiestobecompressedindividuallyidentified,suchasNODE,asinthemanual.
WhenthepartshavebeenidentifiedbydifferentREALorMATnumbers,acoloringschemebasedonREALorMATcanbe
usedduringelementorgeometricentityplots,toimproveidentificationofthepartsofamodel,andtheappearanceoftheFEA
plot.Caution:ANSYSdoesnotusea"4colormaptheorem"whenplotting(can'tdothisin3Danyway)sopartsofdiffering
REALorMATmaybeadjacentandhavethesamecolor.
Arrayscouldbeusedtoassignnumberstocomponentnames,andtokeeptrackofwhatREALvalueswereusedbythe
elementswithincomponents.Arrayscouldassign8characternamestothepartsdescribedbydifferentREALvalues.Arrays
couldbeusedtosetseveralvaluesofanumberofshellthicknessesorbeamsizestobeexaminedinaseriesofanalysesthat
aretoberunautomatically.Asdiscussedabove,thisparameterinformationcanbeincludedinannotationsduringmodeland
resultsplotting,makingmodelrevieweasierandlesserrorprone.
Tip51:SelectingNodesinaStressorStrainRange
Theselectionofnodesinacertainstressrangecanbeeffectedwith,forexample,thecommand
NSEL,S,S,EQV,40000,9999999inordertogetnodeswithEQV(VonMisesequivalent)stressesfrom40000to9999999.This
andsimilarcommandscanbeusedtogetatonlytheportionsofafullmodelthataresignificantlystressed.
Theeffectivenessofthiscommandcanbecompromisedsomewhatbynodalstressaveraging,shellstresssurfaceselection
(TOP,MID,orBOT),andothercomplications.ThecommandwouldtypicallybefollowedbythetwocommandsESLNand
NSLEtobeabletoplottheassociatedelementsandtheirstresses.
IftheabovepartidentificationschemeusingREALvalueshasbeenemployed,thestresslevelselectioncommandcouldbe
followedbyamacrothatselectsallpartsthatmatchtheREALtypesoftheselectedelements.Thiswouldmakeitpossibleto
seeallhighlystressedparts.Thisapproachishelpfulwithcomplexmodelswithpartsvisuallyhiddenbyotherparts.
Tip52:SelectingNodesthatareSubjectedtoNodalCoupling
NodesthatarecoupledcanbeselectedwithcommandssuchasNSEL,S,CP,,1,999999inordertoshowonlythecouplednodes,
andtohavetheoptionofusingpickingtodeletenodalcoupling,orforotherpurposes.Oncecouplednodeshavebeenselected,
worktoevaluatetheforcesresultingfromthecouplingcanbegin.Similarly,nodescanbeselectedaccordingtotheirpresence
inconstraintequations(CE),theirapplieddisplacement(D),forcesapplied,andothercriteriaseetheNSELcommandfor
furtherinformation.
Tip53:/NOPRand/GOPRSpeedUpInputFilesandMacros
WhenalonginputfileormacroisreadwhilerunningANSYSinteractively,textinformationiswrittentotheoutputscreen
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andoptionallytoanoutputfile.Ifasignificantnumberof*GETandsimilaroperationsarebeingexecuted,alargequantityof
textinformationwillbewrittentooutput.Iftheinputfilesandmacrosareknowntobefullydebugged,theymayexecute
fasteriftheystartwith/NOPRandendwith/GOPRinordertoswitchofftextoutputwhiletheyarerunning.Iftheirexecution
iscausinggeometry,nodes,orelementstobegenerated,aspeedupmayresultfromtemporarilyswitchingoffthegenerationof
graphicswithIMMED,0and/SHOW,OFF.TheycanbereactivatedwithIMMED,1and/SHOW,TERM.Youmaywantto
considerthe/UIScommandalso.
Tip54:UsingCommandsIMMEDand/UISand/SHOW,OFFtoSuppressPlotting
Isometimesdevelopamodelinteractively,settingupsomedimensionsasparameters,thenmanuallymodifyandaddtothelog
filethatisgenerated.TheresultinglogfilebecomesaninputfilethatIcanuseforparametricgenerationofamodel.WhenI
runthisinputlogfile,Idon'twantallofmyvariousplotcommandstobeexecuted,onlythoseforfinishedmodeldisplayand
resultsreview.ThiscanbeimplementedwiththeIMMED,0(forinteractiveexecution),/UIS,REPLOT,0and/SHOW,OFF
commands.TheycanbereactivatedwithIMMED,1and/UIS/REPLOT,1and/SHOW,TERM.Ifthegraphicsoutputis
intendedtobesenttoagraphicsfile,thecommand/SHOW,FILEcanbeusedforreactivationofwritingtoafilepreviously
designatedbya/SHOW,filenamecommand.Ifwritingtoafile,theimmediatemodeplottingisoffbydefault.Bewarnedthat
ifyouchangetoanotheroutputgraphicsfilenamewiththe/SHOWcommand,thencomebacktothefirstfilename,thefirst
filewillbeoverwritten.
Whenrerunningalogfileusing/INPUTthemessagesthatrequiredclicking"OK"willbegeneratedandexecutionwillpause.
Thismeansthatthe/INPUTcommandwillnotrerunalllogfilesunattended.Ihavenotfoundthe/UIScommandto
completelystopthis,suchaswhenthe/CLEARcommandisissued.Runningbatchissometimesdesirable.
Tip55:What'stheBauschingerEffect?CommentsonMaterialYield
Ifirstwantedtodoelastic/plasticanalysisinANSYStogetafeelfortheonsetoffailureinanautomotivepart.Itwasofvalue
toshowthatoneproposedcrossectionshapewassignificantlybetterthananother.Thisrequiredmetouseplasticmaterial
propertiesforsteel,innonlinearlargedeflectionanalysisinANSYS.Unfortunately,Ihadtakenneitheranacademiccoursein
metalforming,norattendedanANSYScourseinnonlinearanalysis.DiggingintotheANSYSmanuals,thefirstthingonehas
todecideoniswhethertouseKinematicHardeningorIsotropicHardeningforthematerialmodel.Fortunately,highprecision
wasnotneededforwhatIwasdoing,sotheexactstress/straincurveandthechoiceofmaterialyieldruleswerenotabig
concern.Still,IwantedtoknowwhatIwasdoing,withinreason.Themanualmentionstherelationshipbetweenkinematic
hardeningandtheBauschingereffect.Aftersomepokingaround,IfinallyfoundabasicdescriptionoftheBauschingereffect
inTimoshenko'sStrengthofMaterialsPartII:AdvancedTheoryandProblemsThirdEdition,Krieger,Florida,1976.
Essentially,atensiontestcausingslightyieldingpermanentlydeforms(causesslipin)unfavorablyorientedcrystalsbefore
othercrystalsinaspecimen.Consequently,uponunloading,thepermanentlydeformedcrystalsareinsomecompression.After
reloadingwithtension,theonsetofyieldisraisedbecausethedeformedcrystalsdonotreachtheirnewslipstressuntilthe
loadishigherthanthefirsttime.Ifthematerialiscompressedaftertensionloading,thedeformedcrystalsreachtheir
compressionslipstressbeforetherestofthecrystals,withtheresultthatcompressionyieldingstartssoonerthaninafresh
unstrainedspecimen.QuotingTimoshenko,"Thusthetensiletestcycleraisestheelasticlimitintension,butlowerstheelastic
limitincompression."ThisistheBauschingereffect.
OnethingthatmayaffectthechoiceofayieldmodelinANSYSwillbewhatissupportedbyanelementtype.Shell63does
notsupportnonlinearmaterialpropertiesatall.Shell181supportsisotropichardeningbutnotkinematichardening.Shell43
apparentlysupportsboth,butitissuggestedthatShell181ismorecapable.
ItshouldberememberedthatANSYSrequiresatruestraincurveinmaterialcharacterization,nottheengineeringstraincurve,
whenmultilinearcurvesareentered.Inquickanddirtychecksonthepossibilityoffailureofastructure,Isometimesconsider
itsufficientjusttouseabilinearmodel,withtheyieldportionofthecurvefairlyflat.Thiswouldn'tdoformodelsofmetal
forminginmanufacturing,butcansometimesbeusedtoassesswhetherstructurefailureisaconcernwhensomeportionsofan
elasticmodelareexceedingyield.Itmaybedesirabletoloadthestructurebeyondthedesignloadinordertoobservewhere
significantfailurestarts,inordertogetafeelformarginofsafety.Thismayrequirearclengthanalysis.(Myuseoftheword
"quick"in"quickanddirty"isoverlyoptimistic.)
Somedesigncodeshaverulesforelasticplasticorforfullyplasticanalysisthatwouldhavetobeused,ifsuchananalysiswas
neededtojustifyorqualifyadesignlegallyortofulfillacontract.
Tip56:ThoughtExperiments
Nothingsofocusesthemindonthedesigndetailsofaproductashearingthatitfailedintestingorinservice.Youdon'thave
tobeEinsteintoperformthefollowingthoughtexperiment:Supposethatyouheardthatsomeaspectofadesignhadfailedin
service.Thefailurecouldbeyielding,buckling,crackgrowth,fracture,vibratingtodeath,unacceptabledeformation,wearor
binding,orwhateverisappropriate.Brainstormastowhetheritcouldhappen,whatcouldhavecausedit,andhowanalysis
couldhighlightwhatisorcouldbewrong.Dothisthoughtexperimentforasmanycharacteristicsoftheproductasyoucan.
Youmaysubstantiallyextendthenumberofthingsthatyouconsiderinthedesign,andintheFEAwork.Itmaysave
someone'sneck,eitherfigurativelyorliterally.
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Possibilitiesand"WhatIf's":
Whatcouldcauseyieldingarefastenersorweldsoverloaded?Weretheirloadsevencheckedandforallloadcases,orthe
boundingloadcases?Aretheboundingloadcasescomplete?Arestressesaboveyieldoverasignificantregion?Aresurface
stressesofshellelementsdoingsomethingunusual?Werenonlinearitiesconsidered?Wereallpossiblecombinationsofloading
considered?Isthereahighloadsituationthatwasnotconsidered?WereallcomponentsevaluatedinFEA?Isthereanunusual
boundaryconditionarrangementthathasnotbeenconsidered?WastheFEAmeshtoocoarse?Wererelevantdetailsthatcause
stressconcentrationsleftoutofthemodel?Canwhatwasdiscountedasalocalstressconcentrationleadtoprogressivecollapseor
crackgrowth?
Canbucklingarise?Havebothlinearandnonlinearapproachestobucklingpossibilitiesbeenconsidered?Hasaportionofthemodel
beenrepresentedsosimplifiedthatbucklingpossibilityisnotdetected?Hasnonlinearbucklingbeenconsideredatloadsgreaterthan
thedesignloads,sothatsomesenseofthemarginofsafetyisobtained?Canrestraintofthermalexpansioncausestressand
buckling?
CrackGrowthwhatdetailsexistthatcouldpossiblybesitesforcrackgrowth?Dosurfacestressesgiveanywarnings?Where
coulddetailsbeincludedtoreducecrackgrowthpossibilities?Areregionsthathavegeometrythatcouldleadtocrackgrowthhighly
stressedand/orcyclicallystressed?IsdirecttensiononweldscausingTypeIfractureloading?Isshear,bendingortorsionalloading
(appliedforcesandmoments,and/orapplieddisplacementsandrotations)onstructuraldetailscausingTypeIIorTypeIIIfracture
loadingonwelds?Istheloadingsignificant?Isfatigueanissue?Isfractureanalysiswarranted?Isthereareliableshortcutguideto
whatistolerable?Issuchaguideevenpossible?Couldcrackgrowthbesorapidthatithappensbetweeninspectionsandcauses
suddenfracture?Arecracksdetectableatasizethatdoesnotimmediatelycausefracture?Shouldinspectionintervalsbemore
frequentwhentheproductisnew?
Vibrationwhatloadingcouldstimulatevibration?Whatfrequenciescoulddrivevibration?Isthereadequatestructuraldampingor
arethereothermechanismstosuppresstrouble?Wherearethenaturalfrequenciesofvibration?Dosteadystateresponsesor
randomvibrationresponsesneedtobeevaluated?Isflowinducedvibrationapossibility?Willsoundandnoisecausedestructive
vibrations?Haveallpossibleboundaryconditionarrangementsbeenincludedinassessingvibration?
Willlargedeformationsgooutsideofwhatisacceptable?Isthestructurestiffnesshighenoughfortheproductuse?Willdeformation
causelossoffunction,contactwiththesurroundings,binding,interference,collision,orexcessivewearofmovingparts?
Isthedesignsomethingthatcanbemanufacturedwiththequalityanduniformityrequiredtoavoidstructuralweakness?

Theanalystshouldextendtheaboveitemstoeverythingthatneedstobeconsidered,orthatcouldgowrong.
Tip57:ControlofMeshing
SinceIamusingANSYS5.3,Ican'tcommentonthelatestinANSYSautomaticmeshingcapabilities,butacoupleof
suggestionsaboutthebasicsmaybehelpful.Youcanselectthelinesthathavenotyethadmeshdensityapplied,withthe
command"LSEL,S,NDIV,,0"asacheckthatalllineshavehadmeshdensityapplied,orforconvenience.Thesametypeof
commandcanbeusedtofindthelineswithothermeshdensities.
BasicANSYStrainingshouldhavetaughtyouthatlineandareaconcatenationcanhelpyougetmappedmeshing,whichgives
relativelyneatregularmeshessuchasallfoursidedareaelements,orallsixsidedsolidelements.Thiscanmakeabig
differenceinsomemodels.
Tip58:FourViewPlot
Whenassessingmodesofvibrationordeflectionofa3Dstructure,Ihavefounditconvenient(thoughslower)togenerate
ANSYSplotsshowingmymodelinfourviewsononesheetofpaperorscreenplot.Thetraditionalviews:FrontElevation
(front),Plan(top),SideElevation(right),andIsometric(iso),canbepositionedinfourwindowsthatarelocatedinthelower
leftquarter,upperleftquarter,lowerrightquarter,andupperrightquarteroftheplot,respectively.(Otherstandardview
layoutscanbesubstituted).AdisplacementplotofamodeshapewithPLDISPorPLDISP,1withthesefourviewsactivewill
leavefewerambiguitiesaboutwhatishappeningwithmodeshapesthanasingleviewplot.Theonlyshortcomingisthatthe
imagesaresmallIprefertouse11"x17"paperinlandscapemodefortheseplots.
AnannecdoteIheardfromaguyIknew:AU.S.shipenteredaforeignshipyardneedinganewpropeller.Theship'sengineer
suppliedadrawing,andapropellerwascastandinstalled.Theshipwaslaunchedandpoweredup.Whensettogoforward,the
shipwentbackwardtheshipyardusedtheEuropeanstandardviewinterpretationofanAmericandrawing,andthepropeller
wasmirrorimaged!
Thefollowingcodecanbeputintoamacrotogenerateafourviewscreen.CustomizeitasyouwishIincludecommandsto
turnoffPowerGraphicsandtouseCentroidalsort.Thispermitscleanplotsonpaperwithlargemodels.NOTE:Usersmay
wanttosetthe/DSCALEvaluetothesamelevelinallfourwindowswith"/DSCALE,ALL,value".
!Forinformationonly.Useatyourownrisk.
!Puttheselinesinamacro
!Setscreentoshowfourstandardviews:
!Usermaywanttoset/DSCALEtothesamevalueinallwindows
/WIN,1,LTOP!Window1lefttop
/WIN,2,RTOP!Window2righttop
/WIN,3,LBOT!Window3leftbottom
/WIN,4,RBOT!Window4rightbottom
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/WIN,5,OFF!TurnoffWindow5
/VIEW,1,0,1,0!Window1top(plan)view
/VUP,1,Y!Referenceorientation
/VIEW,2,1,1,1!Window2ISO(isometricprojection)view
/VUP,2,Y!Referenceorientation
/VIEW,3,0,0,1!Window3front(frontelevation)view
/VUP,3,Y!Referenceorientation
/VIEW,4,1,0,0!Window4right(sideelevation)view
/VUP,4,Y!Referenceorientation
/AUTO,ALL!Fitallwindows
/PLOPTS,INFO,1!Includeinformationcolumn
/PLOPTS,LEG2,0!Don'tincludeviewinformation
/TYPE,ALL,2!Centroidsort,betterprintthatZbuffer
/CPLANE,0!Cuttingplane
/graphics,full!NOTPowerGraphics(fewerfacets?)
!Userhastoissuetheplotcommand

Thenextcodecanbeusedinamacrotoreturntoafrontviewinonewindow.Again,theusermaywanttocustomizesomeof
thelines:
!Forinformationonly.Useatyourownrisk.
!SetscreentoshowonefrontviewinWindow1
/WIN,1,SQUA!FullsquareWindow1
/WIN,1,ON!TurnonWindow1
/WIN,2,OFF!TurnoffWindow2
/WIN,3,OFF!TurnoffWindow3
/WIN,4,OFF!TurnoffWindow4
/WIN,5,OFF!TurnoffWindow5
/PLOPTS,INFO,1!Infoonforrightcolumn
/PLOPTS,LEG2,0!Don'tshowtheviewinformation
/VIEW,1,0,0,1!Front(frontelevation)view
/VUP,1,Y!Referenceorientation
/TYPE,ALL,2!Centroidalsort,betterprintthanZbuffer
/CPLANE,0!Cuttingplane
/graphics,full!NotPowerGraphics(fewerfacets?)
!Userhastoissuetheplotcommand

Afterrunningoneoftheaboveviewgeneratingmacros,theuserhastoissueaplotcommandtoseetheresult.
Tip59:QuickReviewofModeShapes
TostartprintingplotsofmodeshapesdirectlyfromANSYSmodeshaperesults,havingthehardcopywindowpopup
automatically,typeinaninputlinesuchas:
SET,1,1$PLDISP$/UI,COPY

Thedollarsignseparatesthecommandsthataregroupedononeinputline.ClickthehardcopyOKbuttontokickoffthe
hardcopy.Youmaywanttosettheprinttolandscapemode,first.Then,toprintplotsoftherestofthemodeshapes,type:
SET,NEXT$PLDISP$/UI,COPY

Simplykeeprepeatingthesecondline(toavoidretyping,doubleclickitintheANSYSInputwindow),andclickingthe
hardcopyOKbutton,togettherestofthemodesprinted.NotethattheSET,NEXTcommandwillloopbacktothefirstmode
shapeafterthenumberofmodesstoredintheRSTfilehasbeenexhausted.
Youmayseethesomewhatoddmessage:

Thiscomesupbecauseofthe/UI,COPYcommand,andhassomethingtodowiththe/ZOOMcommand.Consequently,this
methodmaynotworksatisfactorilyifyourzoomisnotoff.Inviewingmodeshapes,itwillbetypicaltohavezoomingoff.
Thefollowingcodefragmentreadfromaninputormacrofilecanautomaticallyplotasetofmodeshapes.*GETcommands
areusedtodetectinformationonwhatsubstepandfrequencyareread.Theuserdoesnotneedtoknowhowmanymodeswere
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generated,soautomatedplottingtoafileissimpler.Thedisplacementplotswillcontainsubstepandfrequencyinformation.
Thiscodeshouldcopewithdegenerateeigenvaluesorrigidbodydisplacements.Executethisfromwithin/POST1aftera
modecaseanalysiswasrun,orafterthedatabaseandRSTfileforamodecaseanalysisareloaded.Thereisnoerrorcheck,so
thismustbeusedproperly.Theuserwillwanttotestandcustomizethesecommands:
!Forinformationonly.Useatyourownrisk.
set,1,1!settothefirstmode
pldisp!plotthefirstmode
*do,iii,1,9999999!useaverylargenumber
set,next!settothenextmode
*get,ntotal,active,0,solu,ncmss!cumulativesubstepscyclesto1ifallmodesinRSTdone
*get,thefreq,mode,iii,freq!usethislineifdesiredtogetfrequencyintoaparameter
*if,ntotal,eq,1,then
*exit!exitdoloopifdone
*endif
pldisp!plotthedisplacedshape
*enddo

Tip60:UsingANSYSHelp

WhenusingANSYSinteractively,helponanycommandcanbeaccessedimmediatelybytypingHELP,commandnameintothe
inputwindow.IftheHELPapplicationhasbeenlaunchedindependently,thequickwaytogethelponaparticularcommandis
tousethe"Navigate"and"HelpOn..."menuchoice.Typethecommandnameintothe"HelpOn"textboxthatpopsup,then
clicktheApplybutton.
ThiswillsendthehelpprogramtotheCommandsmanualforthecommandnametyped.Ifyouclickthe"Apply"button,the
"HelpOn"dialogboxremainsvisible,andcanbeusedtotypeinothercommandnames.

TheonlineANSYShelpsystemmakestheneedfortripstohardcopydocumentationmuchlessfrequent.TheHelpapplication
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canbelaunchedwhileANSYSisrunninginthebackground,soANSYSdocumentationcanbestudiedwhilealargemodelis
solving.
Tip61:TheFEAJobHunt
NotstrictlyanANSYSissue,Iwanttoputinmyowntwocent'sworthonthistopic,whichisofinteresttoallofus.Some
timebackwhenIwasjobhuntingduringarecession,Iwasgivenaprescreeninginterviewoverthephone.Theinterviewer
ownedaconsultingfirm.Itrapidlybecameapparentthathehadbeenliedto,manytimesandbymanypeople,abouttheirFEA
experience.Ihadbeenusingacompany'sproprietaryFEAcodeandwasnotexperiencedwiththemajorcommercialprograms,
sowasimmediatelysuspect.Anothertime,Iheardofanapplicantusinganotherguy'sFEAmodelimagestopresentinajob
interviewas"evidence"ofhisownexperience.Iinterviewedaguywhoclaimedexperiencewith"alocallyavailableproductI
wouldn'tknow."Itbecameapparentthathehadbeencoachedandknewonlythebuzzwords.Whenjobhuntingitischallenge
enoughtocompetewithotherexperiencedpeoplemisrepresentationwedon'tneed.
TheFEAjobapplicantshouldbeabletopresentevidenceofacademicand/orpostacademictraining.Theapplicantshould
haveaportfolioofpreviouswork.Theapplicantshouldbeinstructedtobringthesetotheinterview.Theportfolioinformation
canbealittleawkwardwhentheproductsareproprietary.Ifitwouldbeillegaltopresentanyimagesofworkdone,thenI
suggestakeenapplicantindependentlydevelopasetofsmallmodelsusingANSYS/EDthatillustratetheFEAtechniqueswith
whichtheapplicantisfamiliar.Theapplicantshouldbeabletodescribethemodelingconsiderations,techniques,
compromises,pitfalls,andpostprocessingpossibilitiesoftheexamples.
Ofcourse,withgoodreferencesandpersonalnetworking,theabovesituationsarelessofaconcern.Still,aswithcomputer
programming,theproductivityofindividualscanvarysurprisingly.Consequently,theapplicantshouldbeabletodescribe
whatmakesFEAproductivitypossible,someofthemodelingshortcutspossible,andgiveanenergetic,articulateand
confidentpresentationofself.
Questionsofthe"howwouldyoumodelthis"and"howwouldyouhandlethis"typearejustasrelevantastheyareinother
professionalinterviews.
Ihavehadbothexcellentandverypoorinterviewersassessingme.Withsome,I'vehadtopolitelydirecttheinterviewjustto
beabletopointoutmyrangeofskills.OnthebasisofmyownsmallsetofexperiencesIwouldsaythatfirstimpressionsare
verytellingifyougetabadfeelingaboutaplaceduringtheinterview,itmaybeforagoodreason.Ifyouseeaplaceas
beingawelcomingworkplacewithahealthyenvironment,andthepeopleyoumeetbehavewellandaresociallyskilled,the
oddsarethataslongasyoufunctionasavaluableemployee,lifetherewillbeOK.I'vehadaninterviewerkeepmewaitingfor
anhourandahalfpasttheappointmenttime.Igotthejob,andfoundthatthingswerefrequentlyoutofcontrol,andtheguy
wasimpossibletosee.Ihadanunpleasant"stressinterview",andsureenough,theplacewascheap,hadanunhealthywork
life,andpoorlystructuredleadership.Anotherinterviewerstruckmeashighlymanipulative,tryingtogoadmeintomaking
negativecommentsaboutemployersandethnicgroups(ofallthingstalkaboutplayingwithfireapersonnelmanagerwho
apparentlyfanciedhimselfapsychologist),andgivingmeinaccuratedataonhiringintentions.Afriendofminegotthejoband
detestedit,sayingtheplacewaspoisonedwithpoliticalgames.I'vehadathoroughlypositiveinterview,gotthejob,andfound
Iwaswithgreatpeople.Ignoretheirhype:Whatyouseeis(mostlikely)whatyouget.
Toendthisonafewpositivenotes:Employerswanttohiresomeonewhowillbeasuccessforthem.Yourbosswillbevery
happyifyoumakeeveryone'slifeeasierthroughyourcontributions.Prepareyourselftogiveapictureofyourrangeofskills,
energy,confidence,communicationskill,abilitytoworkwithothers,rangeofpastexperience,andabilitytotimemanageaset
ofresponsibilities.Someemployersbegrudgeeverypenny,butothersarepleasedtocompensateyouattractivelyifyou
producewell.Sizeupthepotentialemployercarefully,foryourtimeisvaluable.Bestofluck.
Tip62:*VPUTandDESOL
Ihavenoideawhythecommandsmanualentryfor*VPUTdescribestheparameterParRas"Thenameoftheresultingvector
arrayparameter."TheparameterParRisthesourceofdata,NOTwhatischangedby*VPUT.Notethat*VPUTcanwriteto
noderesults,andtoanelementETABLE.Thereisadifferencebetweenwritingto"nodaldegreeoffreedomresults",andwhat
themanualcalls"elementnodalresults"with*VPUT.
The*VPUTcommandcanwriteinformationtothenoderesultswhichcanthenbeplottedasifitwasthenodalresults,using
thePLNSOLcommand.Thecommandmanualtellsusthattheeffectispermanentfordegreeoffreedomresults(changingthe
database),buttemporaryforallothers(derivedresults,notchangingtheunderlyingdatabase).Writingstressdatawith*VPUT
doesnotaffectelementplotswithPLESOL,S,option.Ifyouuse*VPUTtowriteto"elementnodalstressresults",immediately
doaPLNSOLplottoseetheeffect,doaPLDISPplot(seeingunaffecteddegreeoffreedomdata),andthendoanother
PLNSOLstressplot,thelatterPLNSOLplotshowsoriginaldatathatisunaffectedby*VPUT.Thetemporarymodified
PLNSOLstressploteffectdoesnotcooperatewithPowerGraphicstogiveaplotwithcontourdiscontinuities.Beforeusingthe
*VPUTtemporaryeffectinplottingnodalstress(orotherderived)results,testthemethodcarefullyforerrors,andforany
errorsinwhatIhavejustsaid!Warning:Inashellmodel,theplotoftemporary*VPUTderiveddatamaymaketheplotlegend
indicatorfortheTOP,MIDorBOTsurfaceoftheshellelementsmeaninglessannotatetheplottoinformthereviewer.
TheDESOLcommanddoeswritederivedinformationintothedatabasetothenodesofelements,onapermanentbasis.The
commandispowerful,andpotentiallydangerous.Annotateplotsandchangetitlestoinformthereviewer.Itcanbepainfully
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slowtoapplyDESOLtoeverynodeofeveryelement,elementbyelement,inalargemodel.
Tip63:HowtoDivideOneElementTableColumnbyAnother
Todivideonecolumnofanelementtable(ETABLE)byanothercolumn,usetheSEXPcommand.Makesurethedenominator
isnonzero!Perthecommandsmanual,SEXP"formsanelementtableitembyexponentiatingandmultiplying."Theresultof
SEXPisformedfrom(ABS(Lab1)**EXP1)*(ABS(Lab2)**EXP2).Becauseoftheabsolutevalueoperationsthatprotect
ANSYSfromcomplexnumbersbeinggenerated,youwillgettheabsolutevalueoftheansweryouwant.TodividewithSEXP,
useapositiveexponentEXP1=+1forthenumeratorLab1,andanegativeexponentEXP2=1forthedenominatorLab2.
IfyoumusthavetheETABLEcolumnanswerwithitspositiveornegativesign,onewaytogetitwouldbetouseablendof
SEXPandSMULT.GivenETABLEcolumnsAandB,youwantacolumnofA/Bvalueswiththeirsigns.UseSMULTtoform
C=A*BwhichhasthesamesignasA/B.UseSEXPtoformD=1/(ABS(B)**2)whichispositive.UseSMULTtoform
E=C*D.NowthecolumnE=A/Bwithitscorrectsign.
Tip64:ElementTables(ETABLE)andArrayDataExchangeAnExample
Notethat*VGETand*VPUTcancommunicatewithanETABLEandwithanArray.Inthisway,informationthatcanonlybe
obtainedineitheranETABLEoranArraycanbemovedbackandforthformanipulation,evaluation,anddisplay.Youhaveto
beinside/POST1touseETABLE.SOLVEhastohavebeenexecutedinorderforETABLEdatatobeavailable.Inbrief
testing,Ifoundpartialsolveexecutionnottobesufficienttomakeanydataavailableforanelementtable,forexample,
elementvolume.Inordertouse*VPUTonanETABLE,thearrayandETABLEcolumnwillhavetoalreadyexist.Createthe
ETABLEcolumnbymakingacopyofanexistingETABLEcolumn(youcanusetheSADDcommand,forexample),orby
creatinganewdummycolumnfrommodelinformation.Givethenewcolumnanappropriatenameforthedatathatwillcome
fromthearray.Ifselectionofonlyasubsetofyourelementsisinplace,oriftherearegapsintheelementnumbering,itmay
bepreferabletousea*VMASKduringthe*VGETand*VPUTcallstoavoidwarningmessages.The*VMASKarray
contentscanbebasedonatestofelementselection.ArraysizecanbebasedonMINandMAXvaluesforselectedelement
numbering,ifyouuseanoffsetduringdatamovement.Minimizingarraysizeisagoodreasonforcompressingnodeand
elementnumberswhendevelopingalargemodel,beforeloadcases,solutionsandarraydimensionsareprepared.
Anexamplewithshellelements:putshellelementvolumeinanETABLE,shellelementareainanarray,movetheareaarray
intoanETABLEcolumn,dividevolumebyareatogetshellelementthicknessforeachelementinanewETABLEcolumn,
anddoacoloredETABLEcontourplotofyourmodel'sshellelementthicknesses(donotaveragethevaluesintheETABLE
plot).Iftheshellelementisofvaryingthickness,thisprocessgeneratesanaveragefortheelement.Printacoloredpictureof
thisplot.Augmentthiswithanelementplotusing/ESHAPE,1andcoloringbasedonREALconstantvalues.Thisshouldhelp
with"peskyvisitors"whoarealwayswonderinghowthickcertainpartsofacomplexshellmodelare.Itmayhelpyoucatch
somemodelingerrors.HereisamacrotogeneratetheETABLEthicknesscolumnandplotthemodelcoloredbyelement
thickness.ThismacroiswrittentoprocessShell63elementsintheselectedsetofelements.Itisabasicmacrowithnotesting
topreventerrorconditions,or"cleanup"afterexecution.Itillustratesmovementofanarraycolumnintoanelementtable
column,useofmasks,offsetofthetransferreddatatominimizearrayandelementtablesize,anddivisionofoneETABLE
columnbyanotherusingtheSEXPcommand.ThemacrohastobereexecutedifthemodelischangedanETABLEupdate
wouldnotbesufficient.Thedenominatorthatcontainselementareainthedivideoperationshouldautomaticallybenonzero
becauseallshellelementshaveareas.
!ETABLEandArrayusageandinteractionexample.
!Forillustrationonly.Useatyourownrisk.
!ThisexampleisusedonSHELL63elements.
!Anarrayiscreatedcalled"aaa",elementselectionmaybereduced,
!andelementtablesareused.Aplotresults.
!Runfromwithin/POST1
!PutelementvolumeinanETABLE,andelementareainanarray.
!MovetheareaarraydataintotheETABLE
!Divideelementvolumebyelementareatogetanelementthicknesscolumn.
!Elementthicknessvalueshouldbetheaverageforvariablethicknesselements.
!PlottheETABLEthicknessdataforaviewoftheShell63elements
!thatarecontourcoloredaccordingtotheelementthickness.
!
esel,r,ename,,63!reselectonlytheSHELL63elements
aaa=!killthearraytobeused
*get,xmax,elem,,num,max!whatisthehighestelementnumberselected?
!elementnumbercompressionwillbedesirable
*get,xmin,elem,,num,min!minimumelementnumber
*dim,aaa,array,xmaxxmin+1!arraytoholdareashastobethisbig
*vget,aaa(1),elem,xmin,esel!fillarraywithinfoonwhetherelementisselected
!1=notselected,0=undefined,1=selected
!offsetwithxmin(seethemanual)
*vmask,aaa(1)!useelementselectioninfoasamask
*vget,aaa(1),elem,xmin,geom!fillthearraywithgeominfoontheelements
!forshellelementsthisisAREA.Offsetwithxmin
etable,volu,volu!createelementtablecolumnwithelementvolume
sadd,geom,volu,,0,1!createdummycolumntocontainotherdata
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*vmask,aaa(1)!usearrayasamask(geomdataispositiveorzero)
*vput,aaa(1),elem,xmin,etab,geom!putdataintoETABLE"geom"column.Offsetwithxmin
sexp,thick,volu,geom,1,1!dividevolumebyarea,getavg.shellelementthick.
/title,ETABLEPlotofShell63ElementThicknessValues
pletab,thick,noav

Youcanthenselectafewelementsofinterest,andlisttheelementtableforthecolumncontainingthethickness,togeta
numericalthicknessvalueforthoseelements.Youcoulduse*VGETtoputtheREALvaluesfortheshellelementsintoan
array,andtransferthatdataintoanETABLEcolumn.ThenwhenyoulistETABLEinformationforaselectedelement,you
couldseetheREALandthethicknessvaluesidebyside.Contourcolorscouldbeexplicitlyassignedtothedifferent
thicknessesfoundintheETABLEcolumn,ifthenumberofthicknesseswasnottoogreat.Youcouldplaceabuttononthe
toolbarthatcallsamacrothat(1)checksthattheuserisin/POST1,(2)checksthatthereisresultsdatainthedatabase,(3)asks
youtopickelementswiththemouse,then(4)generatesandprintstheETABLEvaluesfortheREAL,thickness,andstress
valuesofthoseelements,and(5)finallycleansupandrestorestheoriginalelementselection.
Anotheruse:PutshellelementmidplaneSx,Sy,andSxyintocolumns,andmultiplythembytheelementthicknesscolumn.
TheresultingdatawouldbesimilartoTX,TY,andTXYdatathatcanbeobtaineddirectly,butnowwouldbeinthedirection
definedbytheactivecoordinatesystem.Amacrocould(1)havetheuserpicknodesorkeypointstodefinealocalcoordinate
system,(2)makeitactive,(3)developthisETABLEdataandgenerateplotscoloredbyloadperunitlengthintheknown
directions,then(4)cleanup.ThiscouldbedoneforSINTorSEQVifdesired.
Thepossibilitiesareendless.
Tip65:ErrorEstimation,PowerGraphics,andERNORM
ErrorEstimationwillnotbeavailablewhenyouenter/POST1ifPowerGraphicsisactive.IfyouturnoffPowerGraphics,then
the"OptionsforOutput"intheGUIwilloffertheERNORMsettingthatactivateserrorestimation.IfPowerGraphicsisnot
active,thenthe"OptionsforOutput"intheGUIwillnotoffertheAVRESsettingthatcontrolsdiscontinuityofcontoursat
changesofmaterialandREALvalueforelements.ThefirsttimeIencounteredthiswaswhenIcouldn'tgetanerrorreport,
andcouldn'timaginewhy,untilIhadpokedaroundforawhile.Ihadentered/POST1with/PowerGraphicsactive.ERNORM
isONbydefaultwhenyouenter/POST1,butonlyifPowerGraphicsisOFFwith/GRAPHICS,FULL.
Tip66:ConcatenateandMeshLast
OneofthethingsIhaveseengowronginmodeldevelopmentis:Ihaveconcatenatedlinesand/orareas,thenperformeda
booleanoperationonthem.ModelproblemsresultedandIhadtostartfromscratch(Ireranmostofthelogfile)Isuggest
thatbooleanoperationshappenfirstconcatenateandmeshlast.(ThiswaswithANSYS5.3solidmodelingproblemsare
reducedwitheachversion.)
Ihavefoundthatwhenthreeormoreareasareconcatenated,thelinesthatareimplicitlyconcatenatedhavetobeconcatenated
manuallybeforesuccessfulmappedmeshingwillproceed.Whenonlytwoareasareconcatenated,thelinesconcatenate
automatically.
Whenconcatenatedareasareusedtomapmeshavolume,itmayhappenthatanadjacentvolumedefinedbyanareathatis
partoftheconcatenatedsetwillnotmeshuntilthe"pseudoarea"thatresultsfromtheconcatenationisdeleted.I'vehad
occasionswhenthisdidanddidnothappen.Theconcatenatedlinesmayneedcleanup,also.Itispossiblethatifthevolumes
thatdonotrequireconcatenatedareasinordertobemeshed,aremeshedfirst,thattheremainingvolumescanhaveareaand
lineconcatenationcreatedafter,andthenbemeshedthemselves,withouterrormessages.Thisconsiderationmaycompromise
easymeshrefinementandadaptivemeshing.Itmaybenecessarytogototetrahedralelementsforeasymeshing,unless
ANSYSrevisionshavefixedupmappedmeshingconcatenation.
Trivia:Ifirstencounteredtheword"contatenate"whenusinganIBM370alongtimeback.Aneighbourtoldmethat
"concatenate"isbasedontheLatinwordfor"chain".
Tip67:ANSYSOutputofDatatoFilesforUsebyOtherPrograms
NumericaldatacontainedinparameterscanbeoutputintoASCIIfilesusingthe*CFOPEN,the*VWRITE,andthe*CFCLOS
commands.The*VWRITEcommandonlyworkswhencalledfromaninputfilethatincludesaformatstatementsimilarto
FORTRAN.Thefollowingsimplemacromakesthe*VWRITEcommandeasytouse:
!Putthiscodeintoamacrofilecalled"writer.mac"
!callwith:writer,data
!writedatainarg1toafilepreviouslyopenedwith*CFOPEN
!lateron,closethefilewith*CFCLOSE
*vwrite,arg1
(E16.8)

ThefollowingANSYS/INPUTdatatestwilldemonstratetheuseoftheabovemacro.Inthistest,themacrohasbeencalled
"writer.mac"anditisinthecurrentdirectory.Eithernumbersorparametersthatevaluatetonumberscanbeusedinthe
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!ExampleofdataoutputtofilefromANSYS
*cfopen,myoutput,dat
writer,123
writer,234
/clear
writer,345
writer,456
*cfclos

ExecutingtheabovecommandsfromwithinANSYSgeneratesthefollowingdatainthefile"myoutput.dat",anddemonstrates
thattheoutputfileremainsopeninspiteofthe/CLEARcommand.Thefollowingisthecontentofthefile"myoutput.dat":
.12300000E+03
.23400000E+03
.34500000E+03
.45600000E+03

Thefilenameusedinthedemoendedin".dat"sothatthedatawouldbeaccessibletotheMathCadprogramfromMathSoft,
Inc.TheaboveproceduremakesitpossibletogetANSYSinformationoutintoanotherprogramwithouterrorsinmanual
transcription.IfyoucangettheANSYSinformationintoaparameter,itcanbemovedtoanexternalfile.Datacanberead
backintoANSYSwiththe*VREADcommand.Similarmethodscanbeusedtomovearraysfullofdata.Notethatthe
*VGETand*VPUTcommandscanmovedatabetweenelementtablesandarrays,andthearrayscanbeusedtoputdatainto
externaltextfiles,sosignificantautomateddatamovementispossible.Thisapproachcanhelptoreducedataerrorsinreports.
HereisanexampleoftemporarilyswitchingtheANSYS/OUTPUTinformationfromthedefault,toafile.Notethatcertain
listinformationwillnotgotothefilewhentheGUIisinuse(readthemanual).
!Thefollowingcodeswitches/OUTPUTtoafile,
!writestwocomments,writesPRSECTinformationon
!linearizedstressesalongapreviouslydefinedpath,
!thenreturns/OUTPUTtothedefault.
/output,lin_path,out
/COM,LinearizedPathResultsfromPRSECT
/COM,CompareResultswithCodeAllowables
PRSECT,,0
/output

Thisgivesapermanentrecordthatisindependentofplottedresults.
Tip68:WritingArrayColumnstoOutputortoFiles
The*VWRITEcommandcanbeusedtooutputanarraycolumn,inadditiontoscalarparameters.Thearraypositionfrom
whichtheprintingwillstartmustbeindicatedwhenexecutingthe*VWRITEcommand.Asmentionedabove,the*VWRITE
commandcannotbeexecutedinsidetheGUI,ithastobeexecutedfromaninputfileormacro.The*VWRITEcommand
printsthedatafromthestartingpositionondowntotheendofthecolumn.Theoutputthatresultscanberedirectedwiththe
/OUTPUTorwiththe*CFOPENand*CFCLOScommands.Thefollowingtwomacroscanbeusedtomakecallingthe
*VWRITEcommandeasy.Thearraymustexist,havingbeencreatedwitha*DIMcommand.Thefirstmacroworksona1
dimensionalarrayparameter.Notetheinstructiononhowtocallthemacro,withthearrayparameternamesurroundedby
singlequotesinordertodelaytheevaluation.
!Thismacrowillprinta1dimensionalarray
!accordingtothestartingpositionindicated.
!IfthismacroiscalledWRITEAR1.MACandan
!arraycalledCOL1DATAistobeprintedfrom
!positionCOL1DATA(1)totheendofthearray
!thencallthismacrowiththestatement:
!WRITEAR1,'COL1DATA',1
!settingthenameofthearrayinsinglequotes.
!TheusermaywishtochangetheFORMATstatement.

*vwrite,arg1(arg2)
(E16.8)

Thesecondworksona2dimensionalarrayparameter.Themacrocallwillincludetherowandcolumnpositionfromwhichto
start.The*VWRITEstatementwillcauseprintingofacolumnofthe2dimensionalarray.Whencallingthemacro,thearray
parameternameis,asabove,enclosedwithsinglequotestodelayevaluation.
!Thismacrowillprintacolumnofa2dimensionalarray
!accordingtothestartingpositionindicated.
!IfthismacroiscalledWRITEAR2.MACandan
!arraycalledMYDATA2Distobeprintedfrom
!positionMYDATA2D(1,2)totheendofcolumn2thencall
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!thismacrowiththestatement:
!WRITEAR2,'MYDATA2D',1,2
!settingthenameofthearrayinsinglequotes.
!TheusermaywishtochangetheFORMATstatement.

*vwrite,arg1(arg2,arg3)
(E16.8)

GiventhatallANSYSarraysareimplicitly3dimensional,thesecondmacroabovecouldbeusedtoprintouta1dimensional
arrayifthesecondcallingparameterissettoone.Asimilarmacrocanbewrittentoprinta"column"ofa3dimensionalarray.
IfaterminthearrayisMYARRAY(III,JJJ,KKK)thenthe*VWRITEcommandwillcyclethroughthevaluesoftheIIIindex
whenprintingoutdata.Themacrofora3dimensionalarraycouldbewrittensothatittestsARG2,ARG3,andARG4toseeif
theyarezero.Iftheyarezero,thentheypresumablywerenotentered,andthecorrectformofa*VWRITEcommandcouldbe
usedtoprintascalar,1Darray,2Darray,or3Darray,asappropriate.Suchamacroisillustratedbelow.Itsusewouldbe
veryerrorpronewithouterrorcheckingcode.Ascalarneednothaveitsnameenclosedinsinglequotesincallingthismacro,
butanarraywouldhavetobeenclosedinsinglequotesasintheaboveexamples.Ausermaywanttocustomizethismacroto
changetheFORMATstatements,ortoremovethe/NOPRand/GOPRcommands.
!Macrotowriteascalaroranarraycolumn,asappropriate.
!Indicatethestartingpositionfor*VWRITEifanarrayisused.
!Encloseanarrayparameternameinsinglequotes.#################
!Examples,ifthismacroiscalledWRITER.MAC:
!writer,aaa!ifaaaisascalar
!writer,'bbb',1,3,2!ifbbbisa3Darrayparameter
!Notethe/NOPRand/GOPRcommands.Theywilloverwriteusersettings.

/nopr!reducetheamountprintedto/OUTPUT
*if,arg2,ne,0,then!ifnonzeroanarrayisused
*if,arg3,eq,0,then!ifnota2Darray
arg3=1
*endif
*if,arg4,eq,0,then!ifnota3Darray
arg4=1
*endif
*vwrite,arg1(arg2,arg3,arg4)
(E16.8)
*else!ifascalar
*vwrite,arg1
(E16.8)
*endif
/gopr!switchon/OUTPUT

Testthesemacrosthoroughlybeforeuse.Notethattheycontainnoerrorhandlingcode.Warning:Itisparticularlydifficultto
remembertosurroundthenameofthearrayparameterwithsinglequotes.
Tip69:SynthesizingParameterNamesandManipulatingJobnamesandLongStringsinAPDL
AlthoughIhaven'tfounddocumentationreferencetothefollowingtricks,theyworkinANSYS5.3,andpresumablywillin
future.Theabilitytosynthesizeparameternames,andtodoothertextmanipulation,couldleadtosomeverycreativeactivities
in"programming"ANSYSmethodsandinmacrowriting.Parameternamesthemselvescanbesynthesizedbychainingtext
stringstogether.Rememberthatthereisalimitonthenumberofparametersinamodelarraysmustbeusedtogetaround
this,ifitisaproblem.TrythesestatementsinANSYSmanuallyentertheselinesoneatatimeintheANSYSInputwindow,
andcheckwhatturnsupwhenthe*STATUScommandisissued(scrolldowntothebottomoftheSTATUStextwindowthat
popsup):
aaa='qwer'
bbb='tyui'
%aaa%%bbb%=12345
*status
%aaa%1234=5
*status
*do,iii,1,9$abc%iii%=iii$*enddo
*status

Forwhatit'sworth,youcanevenstoreANSYScommandsinparameters,andexecutethem.Iencounteredsometrouble
executingcommandswithcommasembeddedinsidethecharacterparameters,butthefollowingworked.Givethematry:
aaa='nplo'
%aaa%
a='*get'
b='xx'
c='active'
d='0'
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e='time'
f='wall'
%a%,%b%,%c%,%d%,%e%,%f%
*status,%b%
thetime=%b%
/title,%a%,%b%,%c%,%d%,%e%,%f%yields%thetime%
/repl

Parametersthatholdtextdataarelimitedto8characters.Severaltextvariablescanbechainedtogether(concatenated)using
the"percent"sign.Theusershouldexperimenttoseehowblanksaretruncated.Thefollowingexampleillustrateschaining.
Thestringsareconcatenatedinthe/TITLEcommand,andthe/REPLcommandshowstheresultintheplottitle.
xxx='The1st'
yyy='&2nd'
/TITLE,%xxx%%yyy%
/REPL

Situationswhenthistrickmightbeusedcouldbetosaveandemploylongtitlestrings,annotationstrings,orjobnamesforthe
/FILNAMEcommand.Themethodcanuseseveralparameters,orseveraltermsofanarrayparameter.Ajobnamecanbeupto
32characterslong,souptofourparameters,or4termsinanarrayparameter,wouldbeneeded.Notethatthe*GETcommand
canreadinajobname,withthe*GETstatementpointingtothecharacterinthejobnamewheretheparameterwillbeginto
readthestring.Anexampleofarrayuseis:
*DIM,aaa,char,4
aaa(1)='Firstte'
aaa(2)='rm&2nd'
/TITLE,%aaa(1)%%aaa(2)%
/repl

Adatabasecouldbesavedwithstatementssuchasthese,inwhichparameter"aaa"istextand"num"isaninteger.The
contentsof"num"couldbetheresultsofaloadstep"num"andthefilenamewouldidentifytheloadstepnumber:
aaa='model'
num='456'
SAVE,%aaa%%num%,db
SAVE,%aaa%123,db
SAVE,myjob%num%,db

Anotheruseiswithaparameterinsidepercentsignsgroupedwithtextwithallinsidesinglequotes.Considerthisexample,
whichwasusedtodeleteloadstepfilesinacomplexapplication:
!Parameter"compname"containstheJobnameofaloadstepfile
*do,jjj,st1,st2,st3
*if,jjj,lt,10,then
/delete,compname,'s0%jjj%'
*else
/delete,compname,'s%jjj%'
*endif
*enddo

BoththeRESUMEcommandandthe/CLEARcommandcandestroythecounterusedina*DOloop.Ihaveusedthe
PARSAVcommandbeforeRESUME,andthePARREScommandimmediatelyafter,inordertorecoverthecounterandother
loopingparameterswhenplacingRESUMEinsidea*DOloop.Theusershouldtestthistechniquebeforeusingthe
parameterssavedandrestoredmayundesirablyoverwriteparametersinthefilethatisresumed.Lookatthis/CLEAR
exampleitillustrateswhatcanbedone:
!testoflooping
fini!exitwhateverisactive
*do,iii,1,3
parsav,all,xxx,parm
/clear!bepreparedtohitOKbutton
parres,new,xxx,parm
*enddo

ThesemethodscanmakeitpossibletoprogramconsiderableautomationintoANSYS,usingtheabilitytoassembleparameter
names,parametercontents,commands,andfilenamesfromlettersandnumbers.
Tip70:SolidElements95and92EfficiencyandInterconnection
Thesetwosolidelementshavemidsidenodes,sotheyfollowcurvedsurfacesnicely.Fewerelementsareneededthanwith
Solid458nodebricks,forequivalentaccuracy.NotetheANSYSmanualcommentsthatthesimplerflatsidedelementsmay
bepreferredformaterialnonlinearity.However,nonlinearityissupportedbySolid92andSolid95.TheSolid45tetrahedral
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ANSYSTipsandANSYSTricks

elementis"notrecommended"intheANSYSmanualsbecauseofitslowaccuracyinpredictingstressesthehigherorder
Solid92and95tetrahedraloptionelementsdonothavethesewarnings,andmaybepreferredinsomecases.
Solidelement95isa20nodebrickelement.Italsosupportsaprism,pyramid,andtetrahedralelementshapeoption.At
revision5.3ofANSYS,mytestingsuggeststhattheprismandpyramidformsarenotgeneratedbytheautomaticvolume
mesher.Atthe5.5revision,pyramidsmaybegeneratedbythemesherattheinterfacebetweenthebrickform,andthe
tetrahedralform.BrieftestingIdidsuggeststhatmeshingofvolumescansuccessfullyinterfacethebrickandtetrahedral
forms.Thetetrahedraformedattheinterfacewithbrickelementsdonothavemidsidenodeswheretheywouldnotexiston
thematchingbrickelements,sothereshouldnotbeabigmismatchproblemattheinterface.Theseelementsthathaveamid
sidenodemissingareconsideredtobedegenerateformsintheANSYSmanuals,andarenotrecommendedinregionswith
highstressgradients,orwhereexacestressvaluesareimportant.
TheSolid92elementisa10notetetrahedronitshouldactthesameasthe10nodeversionoftheSolid95elementin
producingresults.However,itexecutessignificantlyfasterthanthe10nodeSolid95element,presumablybecausethesoftware
isnotdealingwiththeredundantextra10nodes.Inlargemodels,thisspeedupwillbeofvaluetousers,soSolid92elements
shouldbeconsideredwhereSolid95tetrahedralformswouldotherwisebeemployedinlargestructuralmodels.
Tip71:RadiansandDegrees
InANSYS,geometrydevelopmentisdonewithanglesinDegrees.Degreeoffreedomvariablesfornodeswithrotational
degreesoffreedomareinRadians.TrigonometriccalculationswiththebuiltinfunctionssuchasSINandCOSarecalculated
inRadiansbydefault,butcanbeswitchedtoDegreesbythe*AFUNcommand.
Whenmodalanalysisisdone,thefrequenciesarereturnedinCyclesperTimeUnit,usuallycyclespersecond,whereacycleis
afull360degreecycle.Harmonicanalysisisalsodoneincyclespertimeunit.Whenrotationisenteredasaninertialloadwith
theOMEGAcommand,itisdoneinradianspertimeunit.Becarefulwithunitsforrotationalvelocitywhenusingthenew
CampbellDiagramplots.
UptoContents
ReturntoMainPage
FEAandOptimizationIntroductionPage
FEAModelingIssuesPage
1998,1999byPeterC.BudgellYouarewelcometoprintandphotocopythesepages(don'tplagiarizeorsellthecontents).

May27,1999

Linkto:TheANSYSHomePageatwww.ansys.com
Linkto:ANSYSTechnicalOverviewRecommendedReading
Formorelinks,ReturntoLinksonMainPage.

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