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Latch Spring

Shown in the figure is a 12-gauge (0.1094 in) by 3/4 in latching spring which supports a
load of F = 3 lb. The inside radius of the bend is 1/8 in. Estimate the stresses at the inner
and outer surfaces at the critical section.

Joseph Shigley and Charles Mischke. Mechanical Engineering Design

5th ed. New York: McGraw Hill, May 2002.
Latch Spring

Anticipated time to complete this tutorial: 1 hour

Tutorial Overview
This tutorial is divided into six parts:
1) Tutorial Basics
2) Starting Ansys
3) Preprocessing
4) Solution
5) Post-Processing
6) Hand Calculations

This tutorial assumes minimal knowledge of ANSYS 8.0; therefore, it goes into moderate
detail to explain each step. More advanced ANSYS 8.0 users should be able to complete
this tutorial fairly quickly.

1) ANSYS 8.0 in house “Structural Tutorial”

1) Model the the latch spring in ANSYS 8.0
2) Analyze the latch spring for the stresses at the inner and outer surfaces of the
critical section

1) Learn how to start Ansys 8.0
2) Gain familiarity with the graphical user interface (GUI)
3) Learn how to create and mesh a simple geometry
4) Learn how to apply boundary constraints and solve problems

Latch Spring
Tutorial Basics
In this tutorial:
Instructions appear on the left.

Visual aids corresponding to the text

appear on the right.

All commands on the toolbars are

labeled. However, only operations
applicable to the tutorial are explained.

The instructions should be used as follows:

Bold > Text in bold are buttons,

options, or selections that the
user needs to click on

Example: > Preprocessor > Element

Type > Add/Edit/DeleteFile
would mean to follow the
options as shown to the right
to get you to the Element
Types window

Italics Text in italics are hints and


MB1 Click on the left mouse button

MB2 Click on the middle mouse
MB3 Click on the right mouse

Some basic ANSYS functions are:

To rotate the models use Ctrl and MB3.

To zoom use Ctrl and MB2 and move the

mouse up and down.

To translate the models use Ctrl and MB1.

Latch Spring
Starting Ansys
For this tutorial the windows version of
ANSYS 8.0 will be demonstrated. The path
below is one example of how to access
ANSYS; however, this path will not be the
same on all computers.

For Windows XP start ANSYS by either

> Start > All Programs > ANSYS 8.0
or the desktop icon (right) if present.

Note: The path to start ANSYS 8.0 may be different for

each computer. Check with your local network manager to
find out how to start ANSYS 8.0.

Latch Spring
Starting Ansys
Once ANSYS 8.0 is loaded, two separate
windows appear: the main ANSYS
Advanced Utility Window and the ANSYS
Output Window.

The ANSYS Advanced Utility Window,

also known as the Graphical User Interface
(GUI), is the location where all the user
interface takes place. Graphical User Interface

Output Window
The Output Window documents all actions
taken, displays errors, and solver status.

Latch Spring
Starting Ansys
The main utility window can be broken up
into three areas. A short explanation of each
will be given.

First is the Utility Toolbar:

From this toolbar you can use the command

line approach to ANSYS and access multiple
menus that you can’t get to from the main

Note: It would be beneficial to take some time and explore

these pull down menus and familiarize yourself with them.

Second is the ANSYS Main Menu as shown

to the right. This menu is designed to use a
top down approach and contains all the
steps and options necessary to properly pre-
process, solve, and postprocess a model.

Third is the Graphical Interface window

where all geometry, boundary conditions,
and results are displayed.

The tool bar located on the right hand side

has all the visual orientation tools that are
needed to manipulate your model.

Latch Spring
Starting Ansys
With ANSYS 8.0 open select
> File > Change Jobname
and enter a new job name in the blank field
of the change jobname window.

Enter the problem title for this tutorial.

> Ok

In order to know where all the output files

from ANSYS will be placed, the working
directory must be set in order to avoid using
the default folder: C:\Documents and
> File > Change Directory > then
select the location that you want
all of the ANSYS files to be saved.

Be sure to change the working directory at

the beginning of every problem.

With the jobname and directory set the

ANSYS database (.db) file can be given a
title. Following the same steps as you did
to change the jobname and the directory,
give the model a title.

Latch Spring
To begin the analysis, a preference needs to
be set.
> Main Menu > Preferences

Place a check mark next to the Structural

box. This determines the type of analysis to
be performed in ANSYS.
> Ok

The ANSYS Main Menu should now be

opened. Click once on the “+” sign next to
> Main Menu > Preprocessor

The Preprocessor options currently avail-

able are displayed in the expansion of the
Main Menu tree as shown to the right.

Latch Spring
As mentioned previously, the ANSYS Main
Menu is designed in such a way that one
should start at the beginning and work
towards the bottom of the menu in prepar-
ing, solving, and analyzing your model.

Note: This procedure will be shown throughout the tuto-


Select the “+” next to Element Type or click

on Element Type. The extension of the
menu is shown to the right.
> Element Type

Select Add/Edit/Delete and the Element

Type window appears. Select add and the
Library of Element Types window appears.

In this window, select the types of elements

to be defined and used for this problem.

For this model Tet 10node 187 elements will

be used.
> Solid > Tet 10node 187
> Ok

In the Element Types window Type 1

Solid187 should be visible signaling that the
element type has been chosen.

Close the Element Types window.

> Close

Latch Spring
The properties for the Solid187 elements
need to be chosen. No real constants need to
be defined, but material properties do.

The material properties for the Solid187 ele-

ments need to be defined.
> Preprocessor > Material Props
> Material Models

The Define Material Models Behavior win-

dow should now be open.

This window has many different possibili-

ties for defining the materials for your
model. We will use set the isotropic linearly
elastic structural properties.

Select the following from the Material

Models Available window:
> Structural > Linear > Elastic
> Isotropic

The window titled Linear Isotropic

Properties for Material Number 1 now
appears. This window is the entry point for
the material properties to be used for the

Enter 30e6 (30 Mpsi) in for EX (Young's

Modulus) and 0.3 for PRXY (Poisson's
> Ok

Close the Define Material Model Behavior

> Material > Exit

Latch Spring
The next step is to define the keypoints
(KP’s) where loads and constraints will be
> Preprocessor > Modeling
> Create > Keypoints > In Active CS

The Create Keypoints in Active CS win-

dow will now appear. Here the KP’s will be
given numbers and their respective (XYZ)

Enter the KP numbers and coordinates for

the pin definition. Select Apply after each
KP has been defined.

Note: Be sure to change the keypoint number every time

you click apply to finish adding a keypoint. If you don’t it
will just move the last keypoint you entered to the new
coordinates you just entered.

KP # 1: X=0, Y=0, Z=0

KP # 2: X=0.1094, Y=0, Z=0
KP # 3: X=0, Y=0, Z=0.75
KP # 4: X=0.1094, Y=0, Z=0.75
KP # 5: X=0, Y=1.25, Z=0.75
KP # 6: X=-0.125, Y=1.375, Z=0.75
KP # 7: X=-4.125, Y=1.375, Z=0.75

Select Ok when complete.

In the case that a mistake was made in creat-

ing the keypoints, select:
> Preprocessor > Modeling
> Delete > Keypoints

Select the inappropriate KP’s and select OK.

The created KP’s should look similar to the

example to the right (note: the window is
rotated slightly).

Latch Spring
At times it will be helpful to turn on the key-
point numbers.
> PlotCtrls > Numbering > put a
checkmark next to keypoint
numbers > Ok

Other numbers (for lines, areas, etc..) can be

turned on in a similar manner.

The next step is to create lines between the

> Preprocessor > Modeling
> Create > Lines > Lines
> Straight Lines

The Create Straight Lines window should

appear. You will create 5 lines. Create line 1
between the first two keypoints.

For line 1: MB1 KP 1 then MB1 KP 2.

The other lines will be created in a similar

manner. Rotate the screen if needed to aid
in creating the lines.

For line 2: MB1 KP 1 then MB1 KP 3.

For line 3: MB1 KP 3 then MB1 KP 4.
For line 4: MB1 KP 4 then MB1 KP 2.
For line 5: MB1 KP 3 then MB1 KP 5.
For line 5: MB1 KP 6 then MB1 KP 7.

Verify that each line only goes between the

specified keypoints. When you are done
creating the lines click ok in the Create
Straight Lines window.
> Ok

If you make a mistake, use the following to

delete the lines:
> Preprocessor> Modeling
> Delete > Lines Only

Latch Spring
If while working, the geometry you created
disappears select from the Utility Toolbar.
> Plot > Multi-Plots

Other items (lines, areas, volumes, elements,

keypoints, nodes..) can be plotted in the
window in a similar manner.

An arc needs to be created between KP 6

and KP 5.
> Preprocessor > Modeling
> Create > Lines > Arcs
> By End KPs & Rad

Select KP 6 and KP 5 for the start and ending

keypoints by using MB1.
> Ok

Select KP 3 as the reference for the center of

curvature side.
> Ok

Type 0.125 for the radius of the arc in the

Arc by End KPs & Radius box that is now
> Ok

Rotate the model so that all of the lines can

be seen.

Latch Spring
An area will now be created that can be
extruded to finish up the geometry.
> Preprocessor > Modeling
> Create > Areas > Arbitrary
> By Lines

Select the four lines at that the bottom of the

screen that create a rectangular area. (The
four lines are near the origin marker.)
> Ok

The new area is now filled in as shown to

the right.

This area will now be extruded along the

other three lines.
> Preprocessor > Modeling
> Operate > Extrude > Areas
> Along Lines

Select the area just created.

> Ok (In the Sweep along lines box)

Select the three lines not used to create the

> OK

The geometry is now complete.

Latch Spring
Before the model can be meshed for solving,
a hard point will be added so that the force
can be applied to the middle of the latch.
> Preprocessor > Modeling
> Create > Keypoints
> Hard PT on line > Hard PT by ratio

Select the top line at the end of the latch

where the force will be applied.
> Ok (In the Hard PT by ratio

In the Create Hard PT by Ratio window,

enter 0.5 as the length ratio.
> Ok

The model will be meshed by first setting a

size control for the elements and then mesh-
ing the geometry.
> Preprocessor > Meshing
> Size Cntrls > ManualSize > Global
> Size

In the Global Element Sizes window set

the element edge length to 0.05 and leave
the No. of element divisions set at zero.
> Ok

To mesh the model.

> Preprocessor > Meshing > Mesh
> Volume > Free

In the Mesh Volumes window select Pick

> Pick all

The model is meshed and ready for con-

straints and the load to be added.

Latch Spring
We will now move into the solution phase.

Before applying the loads and constraints to

the latch, we will select to start a new analy-
> Solution > Analysis Type
> New Analysis

For type of analysis select Static and select


The constraints will now be added.

For this problem, constraints must be added

to fix the latch as it would be if it were
attached to a wall with two bolts.

To apply constraints select:

> Solution > Define Loads > Apply
> Structural > Displacement
> On Areas

Select the area that represents where

the latch would be attached to the wall
as shown in purple below.
> Ok

Latch Spring
In the Apply U,ROT on Areas window
select All DOF.
> Ok

The 3 lb load will now be added.

> Solutions > Define Loads > Apply
> Structural > Force/Moment
> On Keypoints

Select the hard point that was previously

created on the top of the latch at its end.
> Ok

In the Apply F/M on KPs window select FY

as the Direction of force/mom. Type -3.0 for
the Force/moment value.
> Ok

The model is ready to be solved.

Latch Spring
The next step in completion of the tutorial is
to solve the current load step that has been
created. Select:
> Solution > Solve > Current LS

The Solve Current Load Step window will

appear. To begin the analysis select Ok.

The analysis should begin and when the

solution is done a Note window should
appear that states the analysis is complete.

Note: Depending on the speed of your computer,

it may be several minutes before the solution is

Close both the Note window and /STATUS

Command window.

Latch Spring
Post Processing
Results are viewed by using post processing

From the ANSYS Main Menu select:

> General Postproc > Results Viewer

In the Results Viewer select the down arrow

next to Choose a result item and select:
> Nodal Solution > Stress
> Von Mises Stress

MB1 the Plot Results button to see the

results for the Von Mises Stresses.

Use the query tool to find the stresses at the

inner and outer radius. If you hold down
MB1 with the query tool active and move it
over the part you can see values in many
locations quickly.

The highest values for the inner radius

(shown in red) range from 10,000 to 10,500
psi, with an average value of 10,250 psi.

The highest stress values range for the

outer radius range from about 6,300 to
6,600 psi (excluding the edges).

The values are in the ballpark of the closed

form solution shown on the next page. This
model assumes that the part of the latch
that touches the wall does not take any of
the stress (its dark blue color indicates basi-
cally no stress). In real life, this section
would take some of the stress as it bends
away from the wall. A more challenging
and accurate model would have included
the bolt holes and the latches attachment to
the wall with these bolts. In FEA, it is a
good idea to make assumptions to simplify
the model, and then, if they adversely
affect the solution, you can always go back
and include them in the model.

Latch Spring
Hand Calculations

ro = radius of outer fiber

ri = radius of inner fiber
h = depth of section
co = distance from neutral axis to outer fiber
ci = distance from neutral axis to inner fiber
rn = radius of neutral axis
R = radius of centroidal axis
e = distance from centroidal axis to neutral axis
A = area of cross section
M = moment

ri = 0.125in
ro = 0.125 + 0.1094 = 0.2344in
R = ri +
rn =
ln(ro / ri )
R = .0125 + .1094 / 2 = 0.1797in
rn = 0.1094 / ln( 0.2344 / 0.125) = 0.174006in
e = R − rn = 0.1797 − 0.174006 = 0.005694in
ci = rn − ri = 0.174006 − 0.125 = 0.049006in
co = ro − rn = 0.2344 − 0.174006 = 0.060394in
A = 0.75( 0.1094) = 0.082050in 2
M = Force ( 4 + h / 2) = 3( 4 + 0.1094 / 2) = 12.16in • lb
F Mci
σi = −
A Aeri
3 12.16(0.049)
σi = − − = −10,200 psi
0.082 0.082( 0.005694)0.125
F Mco
σo = +
A Aero
3 12.16( 0.060)
σi = − + = 6630 psi
0.082 0.082(0.005694) 0.2344