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Simulating Pins with shell elements

Question asked by Alessandro Tornincasa on May 20, 2008
Latest reply on May 22, 2008 by Alessandro Tornincasa
I have a "desperate" question. I need to simulate rivets (they could be considered as pins) on a large structure (the frame of a train toilet). The structure is made of such long and thin parts that you should mesh it only with shell elements if you want to avoid running out of RAM (even on X64 system).

My need is simulating reactions on pins in order to find out what are the most loaded pins.
The great problem is that pin connectors are available only for solid elements, and I can't find fast or convenient workarounds.
I've been suggested a couple, but they are really time consuming:
- creating a cylindrical surface connecting the two holes and then evaluate tension in one direction (for example sigma Y) at the intersection with the hole edge. If you multiply tension by the thickness of the part you can get an idea of the value of force acting on the pin
- Creating a small solid ring in the holes in order to be able to create a mixed mesh and define a pin connector on the solid body

In other FEM's you'd put a beam element in the holes, bond it, and then you'd directly get axial or bending forces on the beam. The problem is that it's very hard to do it in COSMOSWorks because if beams are too short ball pins are not created.

Do you have any better suggestions ? Any are really welcome.