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Contact Visualization Plot PropertyManager

With a contact visualization plot, you can view how bodies are connected in multi-body parts and assemblies. Before you run the analysis, you can detect the areas of contact applied by the global contact settings and any local contact sets. You can also detect rigid body modes, and determine if bodies are sufficiently constrained.

To open the Contact Visualization Plot PropertyManager:

  • Right-click Connections icon_connections.gifand click Contact Visualization Plot UI_contact_visualization_plot.png, or
  • Click the down arrow on Connections Advisor tool_connections_simulation.gif (Simulation CommandManager) and click Contact Visualization Plot UI_contact_visualization_plot.png.

Show Contact

Renders regions of the model with color according to the applied contact type.

Select Components Select either the assembly or components (two and more) to view the regions of contact.
Calculate Calculates all areas of contact between the selected components and renders them with a unique color according to the contact type. Lists all detected contact pairs under Results.
Include solver generated contacts (mesh required) Active after meshing the model. Select to view at the mesh level the areas of the model detected by the solver (before starting the analysis) with an assigned contact definition.
Contact Type Color Rendering
Bonded contact_code_red.png Red
No Penetration contact_code_purple.png Purple
Allow penetration (Free contact) contact_code_green.png Green
Shrink Fit contact_code_orange.png Orange
Virtual Wall contact_code_yellow.png Yellow
Thermal Contact Resistance contact_code_purple.png Purple
Insulated contact_code_green.png Green


PM_geometry_based_contacts.png Show Geometry Based Contacts Toggles the visibility of the geometry-based contacts. When activated, renders the touching geometric entities (edges, faces or bodies) between the components participating in a contact definition (global or local).

All detected contact pairs are listed accordingly under Manual Contact or Global Contact.

  • Click a contact definition in the list to view the color rendering of the area of contact. The components associated with the contact definition are listed under each contact node.
  • Right-click a contact node, and select Zoom to Selection.
  • You can render one contact pair at a time, or click Show all contacts to render all contact sets simultaneously.
    The geometry-based contacts include these areas of the components with touching geometric entities. To view a no-penetration contact set between faces that are not initially touching, select Include solver generated contacts (mesh required).
PM_solver_based_contacts.png Show Solver Based Contact Sets Toggles the visibility of the solver-based contacts. When activated, renders the areas of contact at the mesh element level detected by the solver before starting the analysis.
Show unselected bodies Active if you select components and not the whole assembly in Select Components.
geometry-based-contact.png solver-based-contact.png
Plot of geometry-based no-penetration contact. Rendering of the touching edge between the two components. Plot of solver-based no penetration contact. Rendering of mesh elements that participate in contact formulation.

Underconstrained bodies

Detects any rigid (or free) body modes. Bodies that are not adequately supported by fixtures, connectors, or contact conditions can translate or rotate freely. A body without any restraints has six rigid body modes: 3 translational and 3 rotational.

Calculate Detects bodies that are not sufficiently constrained, and exhibit translational or rotational rigid body modes. The analysis tool applies a coarse mesh and runs the static study (using the Direct Sparse Solver) with all defined loads, contacts, and boundary conditions.
Underconstrained bodies

Lists these bodies that are under constrained. A green arrow in the graphics area points to the direction (translation or rotation) of free movement.

Select one of the listed degrees of freedom (for example, Translation 1 or Rotation 1) to view an animated translation of the under constrained body.

Before your run the simulation, apply adequate restraints to prevent instability of the model.

If no rigid bodies are detected, the solver issues a message that the model is fully constrained.

The Underconstrained bodies tool does not detect any instability issues for models containing no penetration contacts, or bolt connectors. Bodies with bolt connectors and no penetration contacts can be sufficiently constrained for a successful simulation, but are shown in the list of unconstrained bodies.

See also SOLIDWORKS Simulation Help: Detection of Rigid Body Modes, Use Soft Spring to Stabilize Model, and Preventing Rigid Body Motion.

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