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Advanced ANSYS Workbench Techniques

Presented At Midwest ANSYS User Group Fall 2005 Meeting By Krishna S. Raichur Belcan Engineering Group Downers Grove, IL

What is Workbench?
A unified working environment for:
Importing CAD geometry Preparing models for analysis (DesignModeler) Performing FEA simulations (Simulation) Optimizing designs (DesignXplorer or DesignXplorer VT)

ANSYS Workbench DesignModeler Simulation DesignXplorer


What is Workbench?
Other modules included in Workbench:
Engineering Data a material data repository FE Modeler to read and write NASTRAN and ABAQUS models CFX-Mesh to prepare meshes for CFX-5

For most ANSYS users, Workbench is usually synonymous with the Simulation module of Workbench.

What is Workbench?
The Simulation module in WB is built around core ANSYS technology.
Not all ANSYS capabilities have been exposed yet in Simulation, but it is certainly not a lightweight version of ANSYS. By using Commands objects, you can access virtually any ANSYS feature.
This advanced use of Workbench is the focus of this presentation.

Why Use Workbench?

There are many compelling reasons to use WB. Here are the top five:
Geometry Import
Tremendous savings in time

CAD Associativity
Easy to make geometry changes, update the simulation, and compare to previous scenario

Automatic Contact Detection

Hundreds of contact pairs are detected within seconds!

Why Use Workbench?

Top 5 reasons (contd):
Robust Meshing
Can tolerate imperfect geometry Hex-dominant meshes Gap meshing tool for field analyses

They wrote a macro for it!

Bearing loads Compression-only support Force on area, moments on solids Etc.

See also the Oct 2005 issue of PADTs The Focus publication.

Simulation Work Flow

Import Geometry Assign Materials Review/Modify Contact Regions Mesh Controls Apply Loads / BCs Solve ds.dat File Batch Solution XML Results File(s) Review Results

First step in learning the use of commands in WB is to understand the overall work flow. Pressing Solve button in Simulation creates an APDL input file, ds.dat, in the solver working directory.
This is what enables the use of commands.

The ds.dat File

The ds.dat File

Contains preprocessing, solution, and postprocessing commands. Nodes Elements Materials Contact Pairs Loads Solution Postprocessing

Commands Objects
You can have your own commands included in ds.dat by inserting Commands objects in the tree outline. Geometry Branch
You can insert Commands for each part. Useful if you want to:
Change element type or keyoptions Change material properties Change real constants (such as to add data for composites)


Commands Objects
Contact Branch
Insert Commands for each contact region. Useful if you want to change or add contact options not yet exposed in Simulation (Keyopt(7), for example).

Mesh Branch
No Commands allowed


Commands Objects
Environment Branch
Commands inserted here are placed just above the SOLVE command in ds.dat. Useful if you want to:
Apply tabular loads Add coupling or constraint equations Do analysis types not yet exposed in Simulation (PSD, response spectrum, etc.) Change load step options solution controls, convergence criteria, etc.


Commands Objects
Solution Branch
Commands inserted here are placed immediately after the /POST1 command. Useful if you want to:
Postprocess analysis types not yet exposed in Simulation (PSD, response spectrum, etc.) Add your own postprocessing, such as unaveraged stress plots, path plots, and surface operations


Commands Objects
Input Arguments
Up to 9 input arguments are allowed on all Commands objects. Values can be entered in the Details region just like other Workbench data. ARG1-ARG9 can also be flagged for parametric studies just like any other Workbench input data.


Commands Objects
Output Parameters
For Commands objects at the Solution level, Workbench scans for parameters with a userspecified prefix (my_ by default) and reports their values in the Details region. Can be flagged for parametric studies just like any other Workbench output data.


Named Selections
The ds.dat file contains no solid model data, only nodes and elements. Named Selections are useful to identify entities when using commands. Example:
To apply a tabular (non-uniform) pressure load on the highlighted area, we give the area a name (InnerFace in this example). When Workbench creates ds.dat, it will put all nodes on that area into a nodal component called INNERFACE. The commands to apply the tabular load can then use this nodal component.


Named Selections
Named solid bodies (volumes), surface bodies (shells), and line bodies (beams) are written to ds.dat as element components. Named faces (areas), edges (lines), and vertices (keypoints) are written as nodal components. By naming all entities required for command processing, you can eliminate the need for solid model data.



Ex 1: Custom Postprocessing
Under a series of given loads, calculate the diameter at Spout_PtX and the gap between spout and base.

First create named selections to identify the desired points.


Ex 1: Custom Postprocessing
Solution (contd)
In a Commands object under Solution, use APDL to retrieve displacements and calculate the desired data. By using the my_ prefix, the output parameters are displayed in the Details region, where they are flagged for a parametric study.


Ex 2: Tabular Loading
Apply a tapered pressure load on the inner face of a tube and verify with a pressure plot in the postprocessor.

First create a named selection to identify the area.


Ex 2: Tabular Loading
Solution (contd)
Use a Commands object in the Environment branch to create and apply a tabular load.


Ex 2: Tabular Loading
Solution (contd)
Use a postprocessing Commands object (Solution branch) to plot element pressures and store the plot on a .png file.
The requested plot shows under the Commands branch as Post Output.


Ex 3: Random Vibrations (PSD)

Do a PSD analysis in Workbench.

Create a named selection of supports (required later in PSD analysis). Do a modal analysis (required step for any dynamic analysis).


Ex 3: Random Vibrations (PSD)

Solution (contd)
Insert a Commands object under Enviroment to obtain PSD solution. Notice the *ABBR command at the end of the PSD input.
This disables the SOLVE command in ds.dat, but allows subsequent postprocessing commands to be executed.


Ex 3: Random Vibrations (PSD)

Solution (contd)
Insert postprocessing commands in the Solution branch to plot 1 stresses and displacements from the PSD analysis. The SET command at the end allows subsequent modal postprocessing to be completed.