Feeling Stressed

Feeling Stressed

in SolidWorks September 20, 2017

Feeling stressed about product development? Well, put the brakes on those feelings because SOLIDWORKS Simulation is here to save the day …or at least make it a little more predictable.

Often, we assume stress is a direct result of being subjected to a force but what about heat? In the example of a brake disc/rotor heat is a major consideration in the deterioration of the part. Can we simulate the stresses caused by heat in SOLIDWORKS Simulation though? Yes, yes we can; here’s how:


First, we’ll take our model and set up a standard Thermal study. On my brake disc I’ve used a split line to trace around the contact patch of the brake pad. It’s not unusual for a high-performance brake disc to see temperatures of over 400℃ so we’ll use this as a start point.



If we assume the vehicle has come to a stop after braking harshly then our temperature plot can give us an idea of the temperature span across the disc:



An interesting observation in the distribution plot is how the heat is distributed between the drilled holes. As intended they accelerate the transfer of heat meaning peak temperatures are minimized.



So, we know our disc is getting hot! What does this mean for stress? Well let’s start a new static study and find out. We’ll add the temperatures gathered from our thermal study under the Flow/thermal effects tab of the study properties.



Our stress plot allows us to determine the stresses being imposed on the disc by the intense heat. Whilst the stresses get quite high, critically they aren’t nearing our yield strength of 620mPa.



Don’t get hot under the collar if your new design is subjected to intense heat, instead use a thermal stress analysis and make sure your product doesn’t ‘brake’!

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