What is a Topology Study?

A topology study allows users to conduct nonparametric optimization of their parts.

As many people begin to upgrade to SOLIDWORKS 2018, they may notice a new study type called “Topology Study” in SOLIDWORKS Simulation Professional and Simulation Premium.  Many Simulation Pro users have been waiting for this type of functionality for a long time, and finally, with the release of SOLIDWORKS 2018, Topology Studies have been introduced.

So, what exactly is a Topology Study? A topology study allows users to conduct nonparametric optimization of their parts.  In other words, the software does all the guesswork for you!  Previously, Simulation Pro would only allow you to parametrically optimize your model using Design Studies.  But now, in 2018, we can perform nonparametric optimization.  This allows users to build a clunky solid part and then let the software show where material can be removed to minimize mass based on the parameters that are defined.

So, how do you use the Topology Study? The setup for a topology study is virtually the same as any other Simulation study in SOLIDWORKS, with a few additions. First, you will want to define your fixtures and loads as normal for your study. In the example shown below, I simply fixed the bottom face of this square tubing and applied a compressive force on its top.

SOLIDWORKS Togology Study Image #1

Next, we need to set up the conditions for the topology study using the four new options.  These options are Goals, Constraints, Preserved Regions, and Manufacturing Controls.  After setting up these parameters to calculate the Best Stiffness-to-weight ratio goal, remove 50% of the mass, and preserve my filleted corner regions, I can run the study and produce results similar to those shown below.

SOLIDWORKS Topology Study Image #2

These results show, based on the applied loads, which areas need to be kept and where material can be removed.

The best part about the new Topology Study in SOLIDWORKS 2018 is that you can even display the study results on top of the model when working in the Model tab (View>Display>Simulation Display).

SOLIDWORKS Topology Study Image #3

This data can then be used for setting up your sketches to create Extruded Cuts.

The new Topology Study brings exciting new functionality to an already robust Simulation package in SOLIDWORKS 2018, which will enable users to be even more creative with their part designs.

Lastly, you didn’t hear from me, but I heard rumors that the topology study will be enhanced even more with the release of SOLIDWORKS 2019 in the Fall!