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Introduction to ANSYS
Mechanical
Customer Training Material
Lecture 3

General Preprocessing
Introduction to ANSYS Mechanical
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Chapter Overview
• In this chapter, using features without the use of the Wizards will be
covered
• Topics:
A. Geometry
B. Contact
C. Coordinate Systems
D. Named Selections
E. Workshop 3-1, “Contact Control”

• The capabilities described in this section are generally applicable to
the ANSYS DesignSpace Entra licenses and above and are noted in
the lower-left hand tables
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… Introduction
• The Outline Tree is the main way of setting up an analysis
– The Context Toolbar, Details View, and Graphics Window update,
depending on which Outline Tree branch is selected
– Use of the Outline Tree will be emphasized in this chapter
Use of the Outline Tree is
the means by which
users navigate through
the Mechanical GUI.
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A. Geometry Branch
• The Geometry branch lists the part(s)
that make up the model.
• In Mechanical, there are three types of
bodies which can be analyzed:
– Solid bodies are general 3D or 2D
volumes/areas/parts
– Surface bodies are only areas
– Line bodies are only curves
– Each is explained next . . .

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… Types of Bodies
• Solid bodies are geometrically and spatially 3D or 2D:
– 3D solids are meshed with higher-order tetrahedral or hexahedral solid elements
with quadratic shape functions.
– 2D solids are meshed with higher order triangle or quadrilateral solid elements
with quadratic shape functions
• The “2D” switch must be set on the Project page prior to import
• Geometry type cannot be changed from 2D to 3D (or vice versa) after import
– Each node has three translational degrees of freedom (DOF) for structural or one
temperature DOF for thermal

3D Solids
2D Solids
Axisymmetric
cross section
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… Types of Bodies
• Surface bodies are geometrically 2D but spatially 3D:
– Surface bodies represent structures which are thin in one dimension (through-
thickness). Thickness is not modeled but supplied as an input value.
– Surface bodies are meshed with linear shell elements having six DOF (UX, UY,
UZ, ROTX, ROTY, ROTZ).
• Line bodies are geometrically 1D but spatially 3D:
– Line bodies represent structures which are thin in two dimensions. The cross-
section is not modeled.
– Line bodies are modeled with linear beam elements having six DOF (UX, UY, UZ,
ROTX, ROTY, ROTZ).
Line Body
Surface Body
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… Multibody Parts
• In general, bodies and parts are the same. In DesignModeler however,
multiple bodies may be grouped into multibody parts.
• Multibody parts share common boundaries so nodes are shared at that
interface.
• No contact is needed in these situations.

• Example:

Common nodes
are shared by
adjacent bodies
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… Material Properties
• To assign material properties to a body
highlight it and select from the available
properties in the “Assignment” field :
– The only materials appearing in the list
will be materials added using the
“Engineering Data” application (see
chapter 2).



• For surface bodies a thickness needs to
be supplied as well.
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… Geometry Worksheet
• A summary of bodies and assigned materials is available.
– Select “Geometry” branch and toggle the “Worksheet” icon.
– Toggle between graphics or worksheet via tabs at bottom
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B. Contact
• When multiple parts are present, a means of defining the relationship
between parts is needed.
– Contact regions define how parts interact with each other.
• Without contact or spot welds, parts will not interact with each other:
– In structural analyses, contact and spot welds prevent parts from penetrating
through each other and provide a means of load transfer between parts.
– In thermal analyses, contact and spot welds allow for heat transfer across parts.
– Multibody parts do not require contact or spot welds.
B A
Surface contact elements can be visualized as a “skin”
covering the regions where contact will occur.
Load
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… Contact
• When an assembly is imported contact
surfaces are automatically detected
and created:
– The proximity of surfaces is used to
detect contact. Tolerance for contact
detection is available in the
“Connections” branch details.
• Contact is also used for 2D geometry.
Contact “surfaces” are represented by
edges.
• Certain license levels allow surface to
edge, edge to edge and mixed
solid/surface contact.




• Note, automatic contact should always
be checked and verified before
proceeding with an analysis.
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… Contact
• Connections can be grouped for convenient contact management.
• In the example shown, contact has been grouped relative to various
sub assemblies in the model.
• Contact can be auto defined for each group via RMB.
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… Solid Body Contact
– Contact elements provide the relationship between parts.
– Each part maintains a separate mesh. This means that one small part will not
drive mesh density of the entire assembly and/or the user can make parts of
interest have a finer mesh than other parts

Note the non-matching mesh at the
interface between parts.
Mix of hexahedral elements
contacting tetrahedral elements is
possible.
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… Solid Body Contact
• When a contact region is highlighted in the connections branch, parts are made
translucent for easier viewing.
– Selecting a contact region makes non participating bodies translucent.
– Contact surfaces are color coded for easy identification.

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… Solid Body Contact
• “Go To” utilities allow a more detailed investigation of contact definitions:
– Corresponding bodies in tree
– Bodies without contact
– Parts without contact
– Contact regions for selected bodies
– Contacts common to selected bodies



– Contacts can be quickly renamed to match part names
RMB
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… Solid Body Contact
• To manually define a contact pair insert a manual contact region and select
and apply “contact” and “target” surfaces.
RMB
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… Advanced Solid Body Contact
• For ANSYS Professional licenses and above,
advanced contact options are available:
– Auto detection dimension and slider
– Pinball control
– Asymmetric contact, contact results tool and
additional formulations will be covered in a later
chapter.
Details for Connections
Details for Contact Regions
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… Advanced Solid Body Contact
• The Pinball region represents a contact detection zone:
– Contact open status is determined by the pinball radius.
• Outside pinball: far field
• Inside pinball (not touching): near field
– Closed status is either sliding or sticking.
– The pinball radius may be entered so that bonded contact
is used in gaps.
– Pinball radius is displayed as a sphere in the graphics
window.
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… Surface Body Contact
• Shell contact includes edge-to-face or edge-to-edge
contact:
– Shell contact is not turned on by default.
– User can turn on detection of face-to-edge or edge-to-edge
contact.
– Priority can be set to prevent multiple contact regions in a
given region.

Edge to Surface
Edge to Edge
Edge to Surface
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. . . Mesh Connections
• Mesh connections can be used to joint surface
bodies at the mesh that do not share topology.
– Must be a multibody part (DM).
– Can include gaps/penetration.
– Can use automatic or manual creation.
For manual definition:
Master geometry can be faces
or edges.
Slave geometry can only be
edges.
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… Spot Weld
• Spot welds provide a means of connecting assemblies at discrete points:
– Spot weld is defined in the CAD software. Currently, only DesignModeler and
Unigraphics define spot welds supported by Mechanical.
Spot weld pairs
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… Contact Worksheet
• The “Worksheet” for the “Connections” branch provides a summary of
various contact and spot weld definitions:

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C. Coordinate Systems
• The Coordinate Systems branch initially contains only the global Cartesian
system.
• Coordinate systems can be used for mesh controls, point masses,
directional loads, and results.
• Local Coordinate Systems can be created or imported from some CAD systems
(see Mechanical documentation).
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… Coordinate Systems
• Coordinate Systems (Cartesian or cylindrical) can be
defined by selecting “Coordinate System” icon from the
Context toolbar.
• The CS toolbar becomes available after CS is defined.




• Local coordinate systems are defined either by:
– Selecting geometry (Associative Coordinate System). The
coordinate system updates if the geometry’s location is
updated (not during solution). Its translation and rotation
are geometry dependent.
– Specifying coordinates (Non-Associative Coordinate
System). The coordinate system will remain as originally
defined i.e.: it is independent of geometry.
Translate
Rotate Flip
Move Up/Down
Delete
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… Coordinate Systems
• Coordinate systems can be used from pull-down menus in the Details
view in various applications (examples below) :

Sizing w/ Sphere of
Influence Option
Directional Results
Point Masses
Directional Loads
Directional Displacements
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D. Named Selections
• The Named Selection Toolbar provides functionality for grouping together
geometric entities:





– Named Selections allow users to group together vertices, edges, surfaces, or
bodies.
– Named Selections can be used for defining mesh controls, applying loads and
supports, etc.
– Provides an easy method to reselect groups that will be referenced often
• Defining contact regions
• Scoping results
• Etc.
Create Defined Names
Manipulate
Show/Hide
Suppress/Unsuppress
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… Defining Named Selections
• To create Selections using geometry selection:
– Select the vertices, edges, surfaces, or bodies of interest,
then click on the “Create Selection Group” icon.
– Enter a name in the dialog box.
– The new group will appear in the Named Selection
Toolbar as well as in the Outline Tree.

• Note:
– Only one type of entity can be in a particular
Named Selection. For example, vertices and
edges cannot exist in the same Named Selection.
– Named Selection groups can be imported from
some CAD systems (see Chapter 10).

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… Defining Named Selections
• Selections can be created employing various criteria using the
Worksheet method.
• Add, remove, filter, etc. to “stack” criteria for complex selections.
• Each selection is generated to complete the operation.
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… Defining Named Selections
• Example, select a vertex at x,y,z = 97.7, 33, 0:
• Using three operations (add, filter, remove),
allows a single vertex selection.
Results in 4 vertices selected
Results in 2 vertices selected
Results in 1 vertex selected
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… Using Named Selections
• In many detail window fields Named Selections can be referenced
directly:
• Example (pressure load):
– In the Details view, change “Method” from “Geometry Selection” to “Named
Selection”
– Select the “Named Selection” from the pull-down menu
• Mechanical will filter non-applicable types of Named Selections.

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… Using Named Selections
• Named Selections can be used in other situations where geometry must
be picked:
– Select “Geometry” from the Details view to enter picking mode
– Toggle the Named Selection to select from the Toolbar
– Select the applicable choice:
• “Select Items in Group”, “Add to Current Selection”, “Remove from Current Selection”
– Then, click on “Apply” in the Details view

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• Workshop 3.1 – Contact Control
• Goal:
– Investigate several types of contact behavior.
E. Workshop 3.1 – Contact Control