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AAE 320 - Introduction to PATRAN and ABAQUS

Lab. 5 : 3D Thermal and Structural Problems

1. Objectives

In this lab, we will learn to perform fully 3D FE analyses, and, in particular, we will learn how to

a) Use the Glide operation to generate a 3D mesh from a 2D “base mesh”
b) Define local coordinate systems
c) Use lists to facilitate the definition of boundary conditions
d) Perform a basic thermal analysis

2. Problem description

The objective of the lab is to determine how the localized heating associated with the presence of a braking
pad affects the global temperature distribution in a metallic wheel such as that shown in Figure 1. At the
right end (front part of the wheel), the temperature is fixed at 70 F. At the left end (back part of the wheel),
the temperature is fixed at 500 F but only for a 20 degree section of the wheel, to simulate the presence of
the braking pad. To define the boundary conditions at the left end, we will use a local cylindrical
coordinate system, and the list tool to aid in the application of the fixed temperature. To create the
geometry, we will use the glide operation to simplify the process.

Figure 1: Geometry of the 3D thermal problem

3. Finite element analysis

When you start PATRAN, don’t forget to select ABAQUS as the analysis code and Thermal as the
analysis type.

u Geometry

Use the methods of the previous lab sessions to create the 2D geometry shown in Figure 2.
(0,3.5) (0.3,3.5)



(1.8,1.8) (2.0,1.8)



Figure 2. Cross-section geometry (dimensions in inches)

In order to guarantee control on the mesh, it is best to subdivide the 2D domain in a series of sub-surfaces
as shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3

u Finite Elements

Now place mesh seeds and mesh the 2D geometry created above using Quad4 elements. Don’t create too
many elements: moving to 3D will greatly increase the number of dof. A simple 2D mesh similar to that
shown in Figure 4 is sufficient.

Figure 4.

Select Iso 1 View so that you will be able to visualize the next steps.

We will use the Glide-guide operation to revolve the mesh that you just created about the X-axis. The
Glide-guide operation uses two curves to define how to create a new 3D mesh from the existing 2D mesh.
We must first create these two “guide curves” and then “glide” the 2D mesh into a 3D mesh. These two
steps are explained hereafter.

u Geometry

Use Create/Curve/Revolve to make two 360° curves revolved around the X-axis (make sure you
select the X-axis, which corresponds to Coord 0.1, i.e., the first axis of the coordinate system #0). Use
two of the corner points of the 2D domain defined earlier. You should get something similar to the plot
shown in Figure 5.

Figure 5. Two guiding curves used in the gliding operation.

u Finite Elements

In the Mesh Control window select the number of elements to create
( i. e., For 360° of sweep, 36 will give 1 element every 10°, which is a good choice
for this particular problem.)
Glide Curve = (one of the 360° curves)
Guide Curve = (the other 360° curve)
Base Entity List = <select all of the 2D elements.>
Make sure that the “Delete Original Elements” button is pushed so that the 2D elements
are eliminated, or your mesh will contain both 2D and 3D elements.

Now you should have a mesh that looks like that shown in Figure 1. Don’t forget to get rid of the
redundant nodes (Equivalence) and to optimize your node numbering.

We are ready to define the boundary conditions. To facilitate the application of the boundary conditions at
the left end, it is useful to define a new coordinate system.

u Geometry

Type = Cylindrical
Origin = [0 0 0] (The origin of the new coordinate system relative to the global
XYZ system)
Point on Axis 1 = [0 1 0]
Point on Axis 2 = [0 0 1]

A second set of coordinate axes should appear in the viewport window (Figure 6), with the new Z-axis
pointing in the direction of the “old” X-axis.

Figure 6. New cylindrical coordinate system


Now that we have the local coordinate system, we can use it to apply our boundary conditions to the
model. What we will do is first create a list of nodes that fit the criteria and use these when we apply the
boundary conditions. The first list we will create contains all the nodes for which –10°≤θ≤10° and Z=0.

1) Go to the Tools/List/Create pull down menu
2) In the window that appears, select FEM/Node/Attribute
3) In the attribute box select Coord Value
4) For reference coordinate frame, select the local coordinate system. (You can use the mouse
for this step)
5) Click the buttons for T (i.e., θ) and Z coordinates
6) Click the button next to T and set it to || to specify a range
7) Set the T range to -10 to 10
8) Set the Z range to 0.0
9) Select A as the target list.
10) Apply

All the corresponding node numbers will appear in the List A window. Use the Highlight button to
verify that you have selected the appropriate set of nodes.
Do the same for the boundary conditions at the right end, i.e., create a list B with all the nodes belonging
to the front face (Z=2) of the wheel. Deselect the T constraint and set the desired Z value (Z = 2.0) and
place this in target list B.

u Load/BCs

Set Name = <choose a name for the first bc set>
Input Data
Temperature = 500
Select Application Region
Geometry Filter = FEM
In the Select Nodes box type `lista`. (Use back quotes)

Repeat this process for the right end BC’s. Don’t forget to change the fixed temperature to 70.

u Materials

Create/Isotropic/Manual Input
Material name = steel
Input properties
Constitutive Model = Thermal Properties
Conductivity = 79.5

u Element Props

Apply the material properties to the entire FEM model.

From this point you can define the load cases, run the analysis (it may be wiser to create the analysis deck
first - see important note below) and get the results in the same manner as the previous labs.

Important Note: it is probable that the input file created from PATRAN will not be correct and will not
be able to solve the thermal problem directly with ABAQUS. The end of the input file should contain the
following lines

( here comes the first set of applied temperatures)
( here comes the second set of applied temperatures)

The solution temperature field is presented in Figure 7.

Figure 7. Typical temperature field

Application problem

As an application exercise, we will perform a
structural analysis of a curved cantilever rod 0.25 in
subjected to a end load P. The rod’s cross-section
is uniform and is shown in Figure 8.

The rod is curved only in the X-Z plane as shown x
1 inch
in Figure 9. The load P is applied on the front left
top corner of the structure, with an amplitude <50
50 0> pounds. The rod is cantilever on the plane
Z=0, i.e., all displacement degrees of freedom are
set at zero on its lower side. The rod is made of
steel (E=30e6 psi and ν=0.3).

1 inch

Figure 8: Cross-section of the curved rod


Proceed with the analysis just as we have done in
the example problem using the sweep function and
using the lists as an aid in selecting the appropriate
nodes for application of the boundary conditions.
Obtain the deformed shape of the rod and the von
Mises stress distribution. Where is the rod most
susceptible to fail?

5 in

1 in

3 in


1 in


1 in
Figure 9: Profile of the curved cantilever rod