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FEA Simulation: Validating SOLIDWORKS Static Simulation Results

Wednesday August 30, 2023 at 8:00am

SOLIDWORKS Simulation is used to predict a wide range of design and engineering scenarios using real-world physics in a virtual environment.

In this series, we’re looking at three simulation applications: fluid dynamics, linear analysis, and electronic cooling. We’ll validate the results of these studies to show you how accurate virtual testing with SOLIDWORKS can be.

Last time we looked at how we could validate the performance of the computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation by analysing the efficiency of ventilation.

Now we’re putting the finite element analysis (FEA) software SOLIDWORKS Simulation to the test as we replicate the work of Fléjou in their study SSNV228 – Setting in Pre-Tensioning of a Pin and compare our results.

By applying a known extension to the system, we can calculate the clamping force exerted on this bolted flange.


Comparing SOLIDWORKS Simulation against alternative FEA code is a great way maintain confidence in the reliability of the results.

Ultimately, it gives additional assurance that new designs, when tested virtually, will be fit for purpose in the real world before deciding to prototype and/or go into production.

Which saves a lot of time and money!


Symmetry in SOLIDWORKS is not limited to features, it can also be employed in simulation studies to reduce analysis time and complexity.

As a powerful tool in SOLIDWORKS, symmetry should always be utilised when possible.

We modelled the geometry analysed by Fléjou and simplified it to a 1/16 symmetry model.





Both load cases aim to apply an approx. average stress of 30MPa over the bolt cross section.



The results between the two analysis methods matched within 1% of each other for both load cases and is an excellent result!

This type of validation gives good confidence that virtual testing can be used as a reliable tool to show how parts will perform in the real world.

While this validation study was created to replicate the test done by Fléjou, SOLIDWORKS Simulation has a more advanced capability to model bolts.

The bolt connector is a very powerful tool - especially on assemblies with many bolts!

It is much faster to solve and easier to apply than modelling and meshing individual bolts.

The results are also more detailed too, as the outputs include axial force, bending moment, and shear force, as well as a failure prediction plot.

Adding the power of SOLIDWORKS Simulation to your design portfolio means having the ability to try out many “what if” scenarios that would simply take too long, or be too costly by and other method.

To find out more, visit our simulation page, where you can find the package to suit your needs.

Or get in touch to see how SOLIDWORKS can help improve the products you design and manufacture.

Take the Next Steps...

If you need help with SOLIDWORKS Simulation, our team can help you achieve accurate results and sharpen your skills.

Here’s a quick rundown of how we can help you get the best from SOLIDWORKS Simulation and virtual testing with our Simulation services.

Not only do we offer CPD-accredited training courses, but also finger-tip access to an expert Technical Support team and consultants who will tailor to your needs.

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