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  • Writer's pictureUFRJ Nautilus

Structural Simulation

Updated: May 12, 2022

The structural simulation is a tool widely used by the engineering area for project development, where there is a simplification of complex problems, it consists of carrying out structural analysis on an object in a computational way, that is, a prediction of the behavior of the part at the be exposed to external loads. An example would be the analysis of the body's resistance to a force.

A series of advantages are presented when the simulation is performed, waste is avoided, failures and costs are reduced in the realization of the physical project, it is aided in the sizing and the choice of materials, in short, there is an optimization of the development of the project.

Usually, these simulations are performed using software that uses the finite element method, such as Ansys and SolidWorks Simulation. This method is based on the discretization of the original piece into smaller elements and, thus, on the formation of its mesh. This can be done in several ways, being able to choose the shape and size, it is up to the user to identify the best choice for his project, it is worth noting that the better the mesh quality, the more reliable your simulation will be.

In addition, in these softwares, the user can add several boundary conditions to carry out the analysis, it is possible to define the material of the part to be simulated, to add fixed supports, forces, among other diverse functions. With these definitions, the program is able to solve the analysis and generate results for user verification and validation.

At Nautilus, structural simulation is often used, mainly to assist in the choice of materials and the dimensioning of the part after analyzing the possible deformations that could occur in parts of the robot when subjected to mechanical stresses. An example of a simulation already made in the team was a simulation performed in the Ansys software to dimension the AUV's lateral arms.

Several simulations were made with different dimensions of width for the arm in order to find the ideal dimension. For this, the material was defined, the mesh was made and the boundary conditions were defined as the insertion of the fixed support and a force of magnitude of 150N. Thus, for each size tested, the total deformation suffered by the piece was analyzed.

Then, with the aid of structural simulation, it was possible to dimension the lateral arms, in addition to realizing which region of the part would suffer the greatest deformation, optimizing the realization of the project.

Written by: Verena de Souza Tavares


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