You are on page 1of 4


Use of Prescribed Displacement to find Reaction Force

SOLIDWORKS Simulation is commonly used on a model with a combination of fixtures and known
force loads for the purposes of finding displacement and stress data from such loading conditions.
At times though, it is not known what applied force to place on a model whereas the displacement
of the model is known and the applied force is the desired quantity to be measured. SOLIDWORKS
Simulation is capable of simulating this process as well.

The Setup
The following model is a simple 2D analysis setup of a leaf spring interacting with against a block as
shown in figure 1. It is known that the leaf spring should be bent to such a position as to allow the
block to pass but it is not known what force applied will allow for this.

Figure 1: Side view of a leaf spring/block system at initial contact.

Given this setup will require a large displacement of both the block and the spring a nonlinear
type study will be used. However, the same techniques can be applied to static type studies
provided the prescribed displacement is small enough and stresses remain below material yield

In this setup the far right end of the leaf spring will be fixed in space using a base Fixed fixture
definition. The far end of the block will likewise have a fixture applied to it but using the
Advanced fixtures setting. Figure 2 shows the far right edge of the block selected for the fixture
where the fixture translations have been set to translate 1 horizontally and 0 vertically. Both
directions require a restraint for the analysis to be stable, hence the 0 vertical displacement
portion of the definition.
888.688.3234 | GOENGINEER.COM

Figure 2: Definition settings for the advanced, Use Reference Geometry fixture used to
create the prescribed displacement in the analysis.

There are no loads in this analysis given that the prescribed displacement used to push the two
bodies together will be causing a load on the models.

A single No Penetration contact set is defined between the faces of the leaf spring and the
corresponding faces of the block to allow the analysis to push the bodies together while allowing
for sliding in the contact region.

The resulting stress (Figure 3) and displacement (Figure 4) plots confirm the block pushing the leaf
spring out of position as well as showing a significant bending stress in the leaf spring near the
location where the leaf spring itself is fixed.

888.688.3234 | GOENGINEER.COM

Figure 3: Stress plot generated from the prescribed displacement.

Figure 3: Displacement plot generated from the prescribed displaceme nt.

Ultimately, the purpose of this analysis was to find the application force required to displace the
block and thus move the leaf spring. To do this, right mouse click on the Results folder at the
bottom of the study feature manager tree then select List Result Force as shown in Figure 5.

888.688.3234 | GOENGINEER.COM

Figure 5: The menu system showing how to access List Result Force
Once in the List Result Force (shown in Figure 6) dialog select the edge on the block where the
prescribed siplacement fixture is applied and then select Update. The program will then report
all of the X, Y, and Z force components applied through that fixture to give the desired
displacement. In this case ~7.5 lbs.

Figure 6: List Result Force dialog and selections.

888.688.3234 | GOENGINEER.COM