nTopology 3.19 is here! This release features a new context search that allows you to quickly find and add compatible blocks right from beside the selected block. We are also introducing a new feature that saves time when setting up revalidation simulations; you can now create boundary conditions straight from a CAD Face instead of using a Mesh. As with every release, nTopology’s dedicated support team is ready to answer your questions. Please visit support.ntopology.com to gain access to helpful tutorials and support articles.
We made enhancements to make our Notebook and block system more accessible for our users. This new feature is called Context Search.
What it does: There is a new icon that appears when most blocks are selected (shown below).
- When you select the icon, a search bar will appear to the right of the block.
- From there, you can search through all the compatible blocks that can be used with the block (shown below).
Common uses: This feature is primarily designed for exploring workflows and block combinations.
- The pop-up search bar will show all options listed in alphabetical order that you can select.
- Context Search isn’t available for variables.
- Use (S) as a keyboard shortcut to activate Context Search.
- Any option selected will become the outer nested block of the initial block.
- If there is an outer nested block already to the block running the Context Search, the list of potential blocks will allow only blocks that are compatible with both the input(s) of the outer nested block and the output of the inner nested block (shown below).
You can now define Boundary Conditions directly on a CAD Face, instead of a mesh. This new feature enables setting up simulations and topology optimization quickly and efficiently.
The following boundary conditions will accept CAD Faces as Boundary input:
- Force, Surface Force, Bearing Force
- Point Force, Point Moment
- Surface Heat Flux, Convection Boundary Load, Radiation Boundary Load
- Displacement Restraint, Point Restraint
- Temperature Restraint
- Tie Constraint, Structural Bounded Contact
- Thermal Bounded Contact
In prior releases, Boundary Conditions would need to be duplicated if a new mesh is used for a simulation revalidation. An example of this would be remeshing an optimized part to compare the structural performance of the before and after model. Using this new feature, you can re-use the Boundary Conditions from one mesh to another.
This capability is enabled by a new block, Associate FE Mesh.
- Associate FE Mesh
- Beta > Simulation
- Block Description: Associates an FE Mesh with a CAD Body. Boundary Conditions applied to the CAD Body will then be transferred to the associated FE Mesh.
- Input # 1: Mesh
- Type: FE Mesh
- Description: The FE Mesh to be associated with a CAD Body.
- Input # 2: Geometry
- Type: CAD Body List
- Description: A list of CAD Bodies.
- Input # 3: Tolerance
- Type: Scalar
- Description: Maximum distance between selected mesh elements and the chosen topology.
Here is how you use the Associate FE Mesh block to apply Boundary Conditions directly to CAD Faces.
Step 1. Scope your Boundary Condition directly to a CAD Face using the appropriate overload on your Boundary Condition block. Note that boundary conditions icons are placed at the vertices of the CAD Face. At the time of the analysis, the boundary conditions will be applied to all the nodes on the CAD Face.
Step 2. Associate the FE Mesh with the parent CAD Body containing the CAD Faces used to define the Boundary Conditions.
Step 3. Use the Associated Mesh and Boundary Conditions in your simulation analysis.
Step 4 (Optional). To perform a new simulation on a different mesh and re-use the Boundary Conditions objects you already created, just re-associated your new FE Mesh with the parent CAD Body.
With this feature, we have added a new property, “associated geometries”, to the FE Mesh object. This property will be valid for FE Meshes that have been associated with a CAD Body through the Associate FE Mesh block and provide quick access to that geometry.
For multi-component analyses, you can use the Associate FE Mesh block to assign different FE Meshes to different CAD Bodies. A Boundary Condition that is scoped to a specific CAD Face will only be applied to the mesh associated with the CAD Face. This is useful to distinguish features that are in close proximity to each other, like neighboring Boundary Conditions or FE Connectors. For example, a Tie Constraint takes Independent and Dependent boundaries which typically overlap in 3D space. Those boundaries can be assigned to two CAD Faces that are in the same location, but from different CAD Bodies.
In the following figure, Component 1 and Component 2 are connected at the interface with a Tie Constraint block. Each boundary of the interface has been assigned to a CAD Face from a different CAD Body, and the CAD Bodies have been associated with the corresponding FE Mesh of the two components.
- Check out the new Concepts section in the Documentation to read more about Implicit Modeling.
- We released a new version of the Mesh from Implicit Body block. The new version, 2.1.0, has the following improvements and bug fixes:
- We improved the simplification algorithm of the block so that the output is always vertex manifold. Previously, if simplification was turned on and the mesh was not vertex manifold the block would throw an error and not return a result.
- We fixed a bug causing the Sharpen option to produce a non-manifold Mesh in certain cases. We improved the performance of the Mesh from Implicit Body block when meshing an implicit body that has issues such as incorrect normals. This improvement applies to version 2.0.0 and 2.1.0 both. The block now runs up to 30% faster, and this improvement will be especially noticeable when meshing lattices.
- We fixed an issue that was causing unit cells to be oriented differently when creating a lattice from a Quad Mesh using the Cell Map from Quad Mesh block. If the quads of the mesh are regular, with no extraordinary vertices, the lattice’s unit cells will now be all oriented the same. You can use the orientation drop-down of the unit cell block to change the orientation as needed.
- If the mesh does contain extraordinary vertices then unit cells will not be consistently oriented. Lattices with asymmetric unit cells will be discontinuous. In this case, you can try using the Refine Mesh block with Refinement Steps = 1. If still inadequate, try Refinement Steps = 2. However, note that after refinement, the unit cells will be smaller.
- We fixed an issue with the “Select Object” button on block inputs not allowing users to select another block in the notebook and use that block as an input.
- We fixed an issue in which inputting an element to a large scalar field list was causing nTopology to exit.
- We fixed an issue where nTopology would unexpectedly exit when exporting a Topology Optimization History with a Save increment value not equal to 1.
- We fixed an issue in which using the Boundary by Body block to define a Point Restraint load case would cause a simulation not to run and give an error.
- We fixed an issue where FE Models containing multiple components of the same kind (i.e., solid-solid) would produce incorrect stress values. To implement the fix and get accurate results in version 3.19 onwards, we recommend re-running the simulation blocks containing FE models with multiple components of the same kind.
- We fixed an issue in which creating a Beam/Shell attribute with Region by body caused nTopology to unexpectedly exit.
- We fixed an issue where an edge force applied to a volume mesh would produce an incorrect Force distribution.
- We fixed an issue where exporting a simulation block with pressure loads will export the pressure loads equal to zero. Now, the exported pressure loads will equal the magnitude applied in a Pressure block.