Simulation Tech Tip: Using Color and Deflection Scale to Make Your Point

I’ve often said that post-processing is the single most important step in any analysis. If you can’t effectively interpret your results, or communicate them to others, your entire analysis was a waste of time no matter how clever your setup was!

There are a myriad of ways to plot and visualize your results in SolidWorks Simulation. My personal favorite is the “Iso” plot, but that’s for another post. Today I want to talk about color and scale.

Look at these two results and tell me which has the higher stress (A or B) and which deflects more (A or B).

SolidWorks simulation standard color results on part


SolidWorks simulation standard color results on part similar








Hard to tell isn’t it? That’s because for each plot generated, the default color scale and deformation scale is automatically calculated based on the current maximum. So they look identical even though they are not.
Now look at these two results. Which has the higher stress (A or B)? Which deflects more (A or B)?

SolidWorks simulation adjusted color results on part


SolidWorks simulation color results on aluminum part








It’s crystal clear when you match the color scales and deflection scale of the two plots. Compared to A, B has lower stress and higher displacement. (By the way, A is steel, and B is aluminum with a smaller load.)

Display options for colors in SolidWorks Simulation results

Fig 5

[Fig5] To edit the color scale, I like to double-click on the color bar on the plot. Set the maximum to a meaningful number, perhaps the yield stress or a fraction of it, or to a nice round number below the current maximum. I also like to force the minimum to zero on most plots.

SolidWorks Simulation user defined deformed shape dialog box

Fig 6

[Fig6] To edit the deformation scale, I like to double-click on the plot in the tree. Set the user defined scale to a nice round number near the default scale. This will depend on each study.

Now, do the same with your other plot, using the same scale values. Or if the studies are of similar type, you can copy/paste the plots from study tree to study tree. Or drag/drop the plot from the tree to the tab of another study!

Manually setting the maximum color of a plot to the yield stress (or a specified stress criterion) allows you to emphasize the regions that are out of spec, which may get lost in blue when you have a high stress-concentration. Or you can de-emphasize the regions that are way below spec (but would otherwise show up red) when sharing your results with non-technical people.

Now, for extra credit, find the icon in the Simulation Command Manager called “Compare Results”. It will let you show multiple plots from different studies side-by-side and will automatically match their color and deflection scales!

SolidWorks Simulation compare results menu item

SolidWorks Simulation results compared next to each other

Would you like to learn more? Attend one of our hands-on training classes or take one of Specialized simulation classes coming up!



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