Running Studies

After assigning materials, defining loads and restraints, and meshing the model, you can run the study to calculate the results. If you run a study before meshing it, the software meshes the model and runs the study.

To run a study, right-click its icon in the Simulation study tree and select Run or click Run in the Simulation toolbar.

When you run one or multiple Simulation studies, they run as background processes. Simulation continues to run in the background after the SOLIDWORKS session is ended. When the simulation completes, results are stored in the designated directory.

To run all studies, click the down arrow on Run (Simulation CommandManager) and select Run All Studies.

To select which studies to run from the list of available studies, click the down arrow on Run (Simulation CommandManager) and select Run Specified Studies.

If you select to run a study that is dependent on a parent study (such as a design, fatigue, sub modeling, or pressure vessel study) the program will also run the parent study, if the mesh or the results of the parent study are out-of-date.

You can move the pointer over the Simulation study tab of a running study to see its status.

Analysis Solvers

In finite element analysis, a problem is represented by a set of algebraic equations that must be solved simultaneously. There are two classes of solution methods: direct and iterative.

Direct methods solve the equations using exact numerical techniques. Iterative methods solve the equations using approximate techniques where in each iteration, a solution is assumed and the associated errors are evaluated. The iterations continue until the errors become acceptable.

The software offers the following choices:

Automatic The software selects the solver based on the study type, analysis options, contact conditions, etc. Some options and conditions apply only to either Direct Sparse or FFEPlus.
Direct Sparse Select the Direct Sparse:
  • when you have enough RAM and multiple CPUs on your machine.
  • when solving models with No Penetration contact.
  • when solving models of parts with widely different material properties.
For every 200,000 dof, you need 1GB of RAM for linear static analysis. The Direct Sparse solver requires 10 times more RAM than the FFEPlus solver.
FFEPlus (iterative) The FFEPlus solver uses advanced matrix reordering techniques that makes it more efficient for large problems. In general, FFEPlus is faster in solving large problems and it becomes more efficient as the problem gets larger.
For every 2, 000,000 dof, you need 1GB of RAM.
Large Problem Direct Sparse By leveraging enhanced memory-allocation algorithms, the Large Problem Direct Sparse solver can handle simulation problems that exceed the physical memory of your computer.

If you initially select the Direct Sparse solver and due to limited memory resources it has reached an out-of-core solution, a warning message alerts you to switch to the Large Problem Direct Sparse.

Intel Direct Sparse The Intel Direct Sparse solver is available for static, thermal, frequency, linear dynamic, and nonlinear studies.

By leveraging enhanced memory-allocation algorithms and multi-core processing capability, the Intel Direct Sparse solver improves solution speeds for simulation problems that are solved in-core.

The Direct Sparse and Intel Direct Sparse solvers are more efficient at taking advantage of multiple cores.

Solver Status

The Solver Status window appears when you run a study. In addition to progress information, it displays:

  • Memory usage
  • Elapsed time
  • Study-specific information such as degrees of freedom, number of nodes, number of elements
  • Solver information such as solver type
  • Warnings

All static studies that use the FFEPlus (iterative) solver let you access the convergence plot and solver parameters. The convergence plot helps you visualize how the solution is converging. The solver parameters let you manipulate the solver iterations so that you can either improve accuracy or improve speed with less accurate results. You can use the solver's preset values or change:

  • Maximum number of iterations
  • Stopping threshold

To improve accuracy, decrease the stopping threshold value. In slowly converging situations, you can improve speed with less accurate results by increasing the stopping threshold value or decreasing the maximum number of iterations.

After running analysis, you can view messages issued by the solver by right-clicking the Results folder and selecting Solver Messages. Message types include: number of nodes, solution time, errors, warnings, etc. Note that these are the same messages that appear in the window during analysis.

Refer to the Design Studies section for more information.