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Contact Sets PropertyManager

Use this PropertyManager to define interaction between solids, shells, and beams in a mixed mesh. Bonding beams to shells or solid faces is done automatically for touching components.


Manually select contact sets Select pairs of faces that meet the specified criteria and create contact sets.
Automatically find contact sets Use the automatic detection tool to find contact sets for touching faces or non-touching faces within a defined clearance.
The automatic detection tool may not find all the contact sets you want or it may find extra contact sets that you do not want. Be sure to review the results then define the contact sets required for your analysis.


(Visible only when you select Manually select contact sets.)

Select a contact from the list of available contact types: No Penetration, Bonded, Allow Penetration, Shrink Fit, Virtual Wall

Faces, Edges, Vertices, for Set 1 Select entities for Set 1.

For the Bonded option selected for studies using mixed mesh, you can click:

  • Joints joint.png Button to select beam joints. Available for the Bonded option for mixed mesh with beams.
  • Beams beam.png Button to select beams. Available for the Bonded option for mixed mesh with beams. Use this option to simulate stiffeners (beams bonded to shell or solid faces).
Faces for Set 2 Select faces for Set 2. For Virtual Wall contact, select the Target Plane plane.png.
Entities in the Set 1 and Set 2 may belong to the same component, body, or shell. Self contact is detected when you define No Penetration contact.
Faces, Edges for Set 2 Available for the Bonded contact type.
The following selection pairs are valid for shells and sheet metal bodies when applying a bonded contact set:
Set 1 Set 2
Face Face
Edge Edge, Face
Vertex Vertex, Edge, Face
Edge-to-edge incompatible bonded is supported for non-touching shells and sheet metal bodies. The projected distance of one edge (set 1) to its connecting edge (set 2) should be limited to the thickness of the shell. If the solver detects any invalid edge-to-edge contact pairs, a warning message alerts you to revise these contact set definitions.
  Self-Contact Available for No Penetration contact (Static with Large Displacement option and Nonlinear studies).

Detects possible interference during the simulation for faces of a body or part. A no-penetration contact is applied to the regions of the selected face that come into contact with each other during the simulation.

For example, if you select Face 1 for Set1, the program assigns Face 1 as the source and target entity for the definition of a no-penetration contact set. When you select Self-contact, the source and target entity is the same face. You can select multiple faces for Set1.

Self-contact detection is not available for 2D Planar Simplification nonlinear analysis.


(Visible only when you select Automatically find contact sets.)

  Touching faces Finds contact sets between touching faces for components you select.
  Non-touching faces Finds contact sets between faces within a specified minimum and maximum distance for components you select.
  Find shell edge - solid/shell face pairs Finds contacts sets between shell edges and solid or shell faces.
Units Sets the units for clearance distances.
tolerance.png Minimum clearance Sets the minimum clearance between non-touching faces. Face pairs closer than this distance do not appear as a tentative contact set.
max_element_size.png Maximum clearance Sets the maximum clearance between non-touching faces. Face pairs further apart than this distance do not appear in the tentative contact pairs list.
If you select Non-touching faces and type 0 for Minimum clearance tolerance.png, the software finds all faces that are not touching and within the Maximum clearance max_element_size.png.


Select Components or Bodies Select the components or bodies to evaluate for possible contact sets. To select the entire assembly, use the flyout FeatureManager tree.
Find contacts with the rest of the assembly Select a single component or body and let the program find the contact sets for touching faces of neighboring components.
Find faces Click to find face pairs between the selected components that meet the specified criteria.


Tentative contact sets   The possible contact sets that the software finds appear here.
Type   Select a tentative contact set, then set the type of contact between the faces. The available contact types depend on the active study type.
Options   Depending on the type you select, set the options.
Create contact sets swatch_add.png Button Creates a contact set between the selected faces with the type and options you selected.
Delete contact sets PM_delete_swatch.gif Deletes the selected tentative contact set from the list.
Transparent view   Select to make the faces of the components of the selected contact set transparent. This facilitates easier viewing of the tentative contact set.

Interfering Faces

Lists the interfering pairs of shell and solid faces. Select an interfering set to highlight the interfering faces in the graphics area.


Friction Specify a value for the Friction Coefficient for use with No Penetration contact for static, nonlinear, and drop test studies as well as Shrink Fit contact for static and nonlinear studies. You can specify values up to 1.0. This local value overrides the global friction coefficient specified in the Static dialog box for static studies. For nonlinear studies, the default coefficient is 0.05.
Gap (clearance) Set the condition for ignoring clearances. Used with Node to Surface and Surface to Surface options for No penetration and Virtual wall contact for static studies only. This local setting overrides the global setting specified in the Static dialog box.

Always ignore clearance.

Ignore clearance regardless of the gap.

Ignore clearance only if gap is less than.

Allows you to set a maximum value for the clearance to be ignored.

Thermal Resistance Used with the Thermal Resistance. option to define thermal resistance for thermal studies.

Units .

Select the unit system. You can specify the total or distributed resistance value.


Type the value of the total thermal resistance between the Set 1 and Set 2 entities.


Type the value of the resistance per unit contact area.

Wall Type

(Visible only when you select a Virtual Wall contact.)

Rigid Sets the wall type to rigid.
Flexible Sets the wall type to flexible.

Wall Stiffness

(Visible only when you select a Virtual Wall contact.)

Specify parameters for a Flexible wall type.

Units Select the unit system you want to use to enter the wall stiffness values.
Axial Stiffness Sets the value of the wall axial stiffness.
Tangential Stiffness Sets the value of the wall shear stiffness.


Visible only when you select Show advanced options for contact set definitions (No penetration and shrink fit only) under Default Options > Mesh.

Node to node Requires compatible meshes for Set 1 and Set 2 entities and allows faces only for the Set 1. Available for touching contact faces only. For modal time history studies, only this option is available.
Node to surface Does not require compatible meshes for Set 1and Set 2 entities. The node to surface option is used by default, when the Advanced options are not visible.
Surface to surface Does not require compatible meshes for Set 1 and Set 2 entities. If the Advanced options are enabled, the surface to surface formulation is used by default.

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