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Altair SimLab fills a void in the market that sits between tools that are built-into CAD packages for simulation and high-end, robust simulation packages. It gives users the ability to run more advanced analysis than the CAD tools, with an easier to use interface and lower cost of ownership of the high-end tools.  In this post, we will talk about some of the features that make it stand out from the CAD tools. 


One of the most significant advantages of Altair SimLab is its automation capabilities. These capabilities can help engineers to streamline their workflow, reduce the time and effort required to complete simulations, and improve overall efficiency.

Here are some of the key automation capabilities of Altair SimLab:

Batch Processing: Automate the process of running simulations on multiple models simultaneously. Batch processing is a valuable feature when working on large projects that require a significant number of simulations to be run. By automating the process, engineers can save time and focus on other critical aspects of the project.
Customization: The customizable GUI enables engineers to create their own scripts and macros to automate specific tasks. Customization is particularly valuable when working on complex projects that require unique solutions. By automating repetitive tasks, engineers can focus on more critical aspects of the project, improving overall efficiency.
Integration: Finally, Altair SimLab integrates seamlessly with other Altair engineering software tools such as HyperWorks, OptiStruct, and Flux. This integration allows engineers to create a complete simulation environment, from model creation to optimization and analysis.

SimLab DOE 
Fig 1: Using CAD parameters within SimLab

Contact Handling

Altair SimLab's multibody contact capability includes several features that enable engineers and designers to create accurate and efficient simulations, including:

Automated Contact Generation: Automatically generate contacts between different parts in an assembly, making it easy to create and modify simulations.
Customizable Contact Properties: Allows users to customize the contact properties, such as friction and penetration depth, to accurately simulate the behavior of the different parts in an assembly.
Contact Visualization: Provides visual feedback on the contact behavior between different parts in an assembly, allowing users to quickly identify and troubleshoot contact problems.
Large Assembly Support: Can handle large assemblies with hundreds or thousands of parts, making it suitable for simulating complex systems.

Contact Parameters
Fig 2: Automatic Contact Menu


Advanced Meshing Techniques

Altair SimLab offers a wide range of meshing capabilities, including:

Advanced Meshing Algorithms: Uses advanced meshing algorithms that can handle complex geometries and generate high-quality meshes with appropriate element sizes and shapes. Meshes included are hexahedral, tetrahedral, CFD, acoustic, voxel and pyramid.
Automatic Meshing:  Automatically generate meshes based on the geometry and the simulation requirements, making it easy to create and modify simulations.
Customizable Meshing: Allows users to customize the meshing parameters, such as element size, element shape, and element distribution, to optimize the simulation results.
Adaptive Meshing: Automatically refine or coarsen the mesh during the simulation to improve the accuracy and efficiency of the simulation.
Large Model Support: Handle large models with millions of elements, making it suitable for simulating complex systems.
Compatibility with Third-Party Meshing Tools: Import meshes from third-party meshing tools, or from Altair tools like Altair HyperMesh, allowing users to leverage existing meshes.

Mixed Meshing Example 
Fig 3: Mixed Meshing example


Multiphysics Analysis

Altair SimLab offers advanced multiphysics capabilities that enable engineers and designers to perform complex simulations that involve multiple physical phenomena. Here are some of the key multiphysics capabilities of Altair SimLab:

Fluid-Structure Interaction (FSI): Simulate the interaction between fluids (CFD) and structures, which is important in many engineering applications, such as aerodynamics, automotive and biomedical engineering.
Thermal-Structural Interaction (TSI): Simulate the interaction between thermal and structural phenomena.  This interaction is critical to getting accurate simulation results in many applications across engineering disciplines.
Electromagnetic-Structural Interaction (ESI): Simulate the interaction between electromagnetic fields and structures.  Typically, this requires multiple expensive solvers that are not integrated with each other.  With SimLab, these solvers included and all in the same interface.
Multiphase Flow Simulation: Altair SimLab allows users to simulate complex multiphase flows, such as gas-liquid flows, liquid-liquid flows, and solid-liquid flows.

Multiphysics Speaker
Fig 3: Speaker example of analysis types using Altair SimLab with Altair OptiStruct

To summarize, Altair SimLab offers end users several important features that are not available in the built in tools to most CAD solutions. It combines ease of use and price point similar to those CAD packages, with some of the advanced simulation capability of high-end tools.  Another benefit is that SimLab is included in the Altair Units licensing model, which would allow users access to many other powerful simulation tools for applications like meshless simulation, manufacturing simulation and more, at no additional cost.

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