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How to Create Temperature Dependent Custom Materials in SOLIDWORKS Simulation 

How to Create Temperature Dependent Custom Materials in SOLIDWORKS Simulation

Materials are a critical part of getting accurate results in Simulation. If you are asking the common simulation question of “Will my part break?” The answer to this question will obviously change if you are using steel vs plastic! Even within the same material, the material properties change at different operating temperatures. Whether if your part is inside a walk-in freezer, attached to a motor that gets very hot, or anything in between, this article will go over the process of how to create a Custom Material with Thermal Dependent Properties in SOLIDWORKS Simulation so that you can have more confidence in accurately modeling your simulation. Please note that to follow all the steps, you will need the Simulation Add-In enabled. 

How-To Create Thermal Dependent Material Properties

  1. Open the Material Library Dialog by Right Clicking the Material Section on your feature manager tree and selecting “Edit Material” 
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  1. Users are not able to modify the built in “SOLIDWORKS Materials”, so make sure there is another folder (“Library”) and a sub-folder (“Category”) to put your new material in. In this case, I will use the “Custom Materials” library and create a category called Temperature Dependent Materials” 
How to Create Temperature Dependent Custom Materials in SOLIDWORKS Simulation
  1. You can either create a custom material from scratch by right clicking the new category, created in the previous step, and selecting “New Material” or you can copy an existing material as a starting point. In this case, I will copy and paste a built in SOLIDWORKS Material as a starting point. 
How to Create Temperature Dependent Custom Materials in SOLIDWORKS Simulation
  1. Click on the material you just created to open the properties
  2. Find the Material Property that you want to make temperature dependent, click in the “Value” box once and then use the drop-down to the right side of the box to select “Temperature Dependent” 
How to Create Temperature Dependent Custom Materials in SOLIDWORKS Simulation
  1. A table is shown to enter the material data with the temperature being in the left column and the material property being in the right column. You can manually type in these numbers or copy/paste them from a spreadsheet. It is particularly important to doublecheck that the units specified at the top of the column are the units that you are using for your data. Change the units as necessary before entering in your data. Make sure to hit save after entering the data. 
How to Create Temperature Dependent Custom Materials in SOLIDWORKS Simulation
  1. At the top of the dialog, select the “Properties” tab and verify that the property that you want to be temperature dependent is set to “Temperature Dependent” and repeat this process (Steps 5 and 6) with other properties that you need to make temperature dependent. Enter in any other material data that you need and select “Save” again. The material is now ready to be used.
How to Create Temperature Dependent Custom Materials in SOLIDWORKS Simulation

Common Questions Regarding Temperature Dependent Properties:

Question: How does the simulation solver handle temperatures between data points?

 

Answer: The solver uses linear interpolation (Draws a straight line between two of the points and finds the in-between value that corresponds to the operating temperature). 

Question: How does the simulation solver handle temperatures outside the minimum and maximum temperature of your input data?

 

Answer: The solver will use the last two values in the temperature dependent table and extrapolate from there. It is best practice for your input material data to cover the entire range that you will be simulating. If you try to run the simulation with temperatures outside your input data, you will receive a warning that tells you that the input temperatures are outside the defined material temperature curve. 

Question: After I make a custom material/material database, is there a way to export it for other people to use? 

 

Answer: Yes, you can save out a material database or put the material database in a shared location for multiple users to use. To do this: 

  1. Identify the location of the material database by going into your System Options (Gear Icon at the top middle of your SOLIDWORKS Screen), go to “File Locations”, change the “Show Folders For: “drop-down to “Material Databases”, and identify the file path that ends in the name of the database that you are wanting to share. 
  2. In file explorer, navigate to the location identified in step 1 and send the file to the new user or copy the file to a shared location. 
  3. On the new user’s computer, navigate to the same System Option File Location in Step 1 and select “Add”. Navigate to the file path of the material database that you copied the file to in step 2 and hit ok to the dialog boxes. 
How to Create Temperature Dependent Custom Materials in SOLIDWORKS Simulation

Conclusion

Materials are important to the accuracy of simulations. When parts are used in drastic temperature environments, understanding and including the temperature dependent material properties are important to the results. If you have any additional questions and if MLC CAD Systems is your SOLIDWORKS Simulation reseller, feel free to reach out with additional questions and we are here to help. 

Technical Support

You can also contact us about Training or get help from our team by Calling us at 800-364-1652 x 2, Emailing us at solidworkssupport@mlc-cad.com, or by Clicking here for SOLIDWORKS Technical Support.

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