Reviews on tools of the trade
FEA/Solid Modeling team
Paris C. Altidis, Staff Engineer
Borg Warner Automotive Inc.
The Cosmos/Works structural analysis package is integrated
into the SolidWorks 97Plus solid modeling program, and
can help engineers determine the performance of a structure
subjected to static, thermal, or buckling loads; or
determine its natural frequencies.
Cosmos/Works exists as an extra menu item in SolidWorks.
The menu entries are listed in the hierarchical order
of a typical FE analysis, but you can deviate from that
order using SolidWorks' Feature Manager.
Each analysis type is defined as a study with property
definition specific to the type of analysis. New in
this version, the model definition can be done in any
coordinate system that can exist as global or local,
in any desired direction. Cosmos/Works cannot be used
with an assembly model since you can only specify one
material for the whole assembly.
Once the study case is specified, you select the material
properties from a list of 50 different materials. Since
you cannot modify or add new entries to the existing
list, SRAC has included access to the Infodex material
database, which can give you access to the properties
of more than 18,000 materials.
Cosmos/Works has an improved automatic mesh generation
that will complete the meshing of the model, with minimum
user input, using tetrahedral elements. Cosmos/Works
will calculate the element size for any level of mesh
density, but the element size can be overwritten by
the user. Unfortunately, the mesh density is defined
globally, so for forms of stress concentration where
you would typically make the elements smaller, Cosmos/-Works
cannot provide local mesh control. Your only recourse
is to fine mesh the whole model and pay the penalty
of longer solution times.
The other option that is available with SRAC's FFE
solver is to switch to high-quality elements that include
mid-side nodes. The results are more reliable, and a
relatively coarser mesh can be tolerated. For thin plates,
shells are a better option also available in Cosmos/Works.
Cosmos/Works will detect the mid-plane of the plates
and formulate the shell model as a triangular-element
The current version of the shell mesh generator failed
to maintain features like circular openings, whose edge
element definition wasn't even close to a circle. One
of the other disadvantages of the automatic mesher is
in its inability to specify loads such as pressure or
forces on individual nodes or element entities. The
models that can be analyzed in Cosmos/Works must be
meshed with solid and shell type elements only.
A menu of plots
A straightforward and intuitive menu structure creates
plots for displacement, stress, and strain results.
The results can also be listed, but the inability to
capture them with the clipboard, and not knowing node
and element location, renders the listing useless.
The dynamic analysis capabilities of Cosmos/Works 3.0
are limited in extracting the first 20 nodes of a structure
whose displacement plots can be viewed and animated.
The thermal capabilities include both steady-state and
transient analyses. From within the same model you can
create different studies for each type of analysis.
Although the buckling capabilities are part of the basic
package, Cosmos/Works failed to performed the analysis
and the program ended unexpectedly.
The advantage of using Cosmos/-Works with SolidWorks
is in the time savings that can be realized by performing
the analysis right where you design the part. Cosmos/Works
is by no means a replacement for a full fledged FEA
program, but it can give meaningful results to a designer
or an engineer inexperienced in FEA.
Spec box: COSMOS/Works 3.0 Basic
Cosmos/Works 3.0 is an FEA package integrated into
SolidWorks' 97Plus which allows the user to get a quick
answer about the structural integrity of a model. Minimum
hardware: Pentium PC with Windows 95 or NT, 32 Mbytes
RAM and 30 Mbytes disk space for installation, plus
100 Mbytes working space.
List Price: $4,995 (bought with SolidWorks)
Structural Research & Analysis Corp. (SRAC),
12121 Wilshire Blvd,
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Tel: (800) 469-7287;
A similar product:
2651 Crosspark Rd.,
Coralville, IA 52241
Tel: (319) 626-6700;