Synchronization and Associativity
LiveLink™ for Inventor® facilitates the direct synchronization of Inventor CAD models to COMSOL geometries in the COMSOL Desktop®. All you have to do is switch from the COMSOL Desktop® to the Inventor GUI, or if you are working in the One Window interface, exit the COMSOL environment, modify your CAD design using Inventor tools, and then switch back to the simulation environment. Changes in the design are automatically propagated so that you avoid the continual export and re-import of CAD models into COMSOL Multiphysics. Another feature that helps here is that associativity is maintained despite geometry changes. Physics definitions on model domains and boundary settings are remembered and reapplied once synchronization between the two geometries has been performed.
When working with the CAD model, parameters defined by Inventor, such as the length of an edge or position of a hole, can be interactively accessed by COMSOL Multiphysics. This means that you can run simulation analyses that involve parametric sweeps and geometric optimizations as part of your simulation workflow.
File Import and Opening Files
Built on the functionality found within the CAD Import Module, Inventor CAD files imported through LiveLink™ for Inventor® are converted to Parasolid® geometries. When you are not working within the One Window interface, these geometries can be manipulated by COMSOL Multiphysics, such as by specifying an encompassing volume around a CAD design to function as a domain for performing simulations. In general, however, you will want to use the power of Inventor for changing geometric parameters while working with your simulations, and leverage the convenience of the One Window interface.
While LiveLink™ for Inventor® allows you to import CAD files in the Inventor format (.ipt and .iam), it can also import files in the STEP, IGES, ACIS®, and Parasolid file formats. Another feature allows Inventor parts or assemblies to be automatically saved as part of the COMSOL model. This helps extensively in associating the right CAD model with its respective simulations, and, by opening a specific COMSOL file from the Inventor environment, ensures that the associated CAD model is automatically loaded. This feature also allows you to create CAD and simulation model packages that you can easily share with your colleagues.
Geometry Repair, Defeaturing, and Virtual Operations
LiveLink™ for Inventor® comes with all the geometry manipulation tools found within the CAD Import Module. This includes the automatic detection and repair of geometric anomalies, and forming solids after healing gaps based on pre-defined tolerances. When deletion or removal is specified as part of the defeaturing or repair operation, healing is also done automatically by filling or patching the resulting geometry through either creating new faces, or morphing together the surrounding ones.
Defeaturing is also an important tool provided in LiveLink™ for Inventor® where important artifacts for the CAD model, such as fillets, may create dense meshes in a region of your simulation model that is not particularly relevant. Furthermore, the nature of CAD modeling can sometimes lead to small, insignificant features like small edges and faces, which also lead to areas of dense meshing and must thereby be defeatured. These can be automatically detected by LiveLink™ for Inventor® and either changed in the Inventor environment or defeatured through using removal and healing tools that come with LiveLink™ for Inventor®.
As an alternative to defeaturing, COMSOL Multiphysics provides the ability to perform virtual geometry operations. This complementing functionality provides easier and less computationally intensive simulations through instructing the COMSOL meshing tools to ignore a specific geometric feature, and mesh a virtual geometry. While defeaturing operations also remove such features, they can introduce slight changes into the surface curvature, which may create erroneous simulations in applications such as studying contact stresses. Virtual operations will hide these artifacts to reduce the need for computational resources, while still allowing the simulation mesh to be based on the original surface curvature.
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