Is SOLIDWORKS Simulation Accurate?
“Is SOLIDWORKS Simulation accurate?” is a commonly asked question and for good reason! Engineers are designing parts and want to know if they can trust the results that they get from SOLIDWORKS Simulation.
The short answer to this question is that SOLIDWORKS Simulation is very accurate (generally within 1% to 2%) if you setup your problem correctly. Thankfully, you don’t just have to take our word for it because included in SOLIDWORKS Simulation are 3rd party Simulation Benchmarks (NAFEMS Benchmarks) that are used to validate FEA codes for accuracy. The validation problems are available for each study type and for many different loading scenarios. NAFEMS (National Agency for Finite Element Methods and Standard) is an agency that was founded in 1983 with the primary purpose of validating FEA codes for accuracy and to promote safe and reliable use of FEA. You can access these benchmarks yourself within SOLIDWORKS Simulation and even run the validation studies yourself. Access these benchmarks by performing the following:
Enable the Simulation Add-In from the “SOLIDWORKS Add-Ins” tab
With a part or assembly open, click the question mark icon at the top right on your SOLIDWORKS windows and select SOLIDWORKS Simulation -> Validation -> Verification Problems/NAFEMS Benchmarks.
Within the windows that pops up, you will see lots of different study types and validation problems for all sorts of loading scenarios. You can click on any one of them to bring up information and even run the study yourself.
The last item that is very important to mention is that the accuracy of results is heavily dependent on the user’s ability to set up the problem correctly. Understanding material properties, fixtures, loading, and mesh convergence is extremely important for accurate results. There is a common phrase in simulation that says garbage in equals garbage out. This means that being able to obtain accurate results is highly dependent on the user’s ability to give the Simulation solver the right inputs. If you want to learn more about confirming accuracy of your setup check out this video on 3 Steps to Accurate SOLIDWORKS Results or sign up for one of our Simulation classes here: SOLIDWORKS Training Course Catalog