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What is a Submodeling Study and Why Use it?

In SOLIDWORKS simulation, submodeling studies are created with one main purpose: Reduce the amount of time it takes to get to the end result. A submodeling study allows you to take in the effects of a larger simulation and do more in depth analysis on a single section or part of the simulation, without having to rerun the simulation on the entire/larger study. For those familiar with simulation, you will know that mesh is very important to the results of the simulation. For accurate results, every study requires you to run multiple iterations with different/denser mesh to see if the results have converged. Submodel studying allows you to get fine mesh (and therefore accurate results) in areas of concern without waiting the time for a large simulation to run. In addition, this can allow you to experiment with different designs in the region of interest.

Most Common Constraints

  • Submodeling studying is only available with SOLIDWORKS Simulation Professional and Premium Licenses
  • Parent study (Study that the submodeling study is derived from) must have more than 1 body.
    • The submodeling study is sectioned by bodies so there would be no advantage to run a submodeling study on a single body.
    • Sometimes it can be beneficial to split components, that are one part, into separate “Bonded” parts for the purpose of submodeling. For example, in this scaffolding simulation shown below, we want to run more in-depth analysis on the section highlighted so we split the beam bodies and add “Bonded” Interactions in prep for a submodeling study
SOLIDWORKS Simulation Submodeling Studies
  • The interaction from the submodeling study and the parent study has to be through “Bonded” interactions. For example, in this scaffolding study there is one contact interaction and several bonded contact interactions. Because of that, below are examples of valid selections vs invalid selections.
SOLIDWORKS Simulation Submodeling
  • The study cannot share virtual connectors between bodies included and not included in the submodeling study.
  • For accurate stress results, the boundaries of the submodeling study (i.e., Where the submodeling study connects to the main assembly) must be reasonably far away from the areas of interest. More detail in the “Theory Behind the Scenes” section.

How to Setup a Submodeling Study

1. Setup and run a typical linear static or non-linear simulation on your larger assembly as a starting point. It is ok to use a relatively coarse mesh as we use the submodeling study to refine the mesh/design and hone in the results. A coarse mesh gives relatively accurate displacement results, which is what is automatically inputted into the submodeling study.

2. Identify the area that you want to do deeper analysis. This area will be used in the submodeling study (Areas of concern or needing accurate stress results)

3. If necessary, split bodies and add bonded interactions so that all connections from the submodeling study and the parent study are bonded.

4. Right click your study name and select “Create Submodeling Study.”

SOLIDWORKS Simulation Submodeling

5. Select the components that you want involved in the submodeling study, this is done by body/part.

SOLIDWORKS Simulation Submodeling

6. Set up and run your submodeling simulation like you normally would. Notice that there is a new item in the simulation manager tree called “Displacement from Parent” to pull in the effects/displacement of the parent assembly.

SOLIDWORKS Simulation Submodeling

Theory Behind the Scenes

The theory for submodeling studies uses what is calling the St. Venant’s Principle that states: “The stresses on a boundary reasonably distant from an applied load are not significantly altered if this load is changed to a statically equivalent load. The distribution of stress and strain is altered only near the regions of load application. You may cut a portion of the model, refine the mesh, and run analysis only for the selected portion provided that displacements are properly prescribed at the cut boundaries. If displacement results from the parent study are accurate, then these displacements are considered as boundary conditions at the cut boundaries for the submodeling study.”


Because of this principle, it allows us to cut or section parts of the assembly and run submodeling studies in the area of interest with confidence. The main limitation is that your parent study must have fine enough mesh for accurate displacement results (which thankfully is a lot coarser than what is needed for accurate stress results) and the area of concern in the submodeling study is sufficiently far away from the boundaries of the submodeling study.

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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