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Lines of Force & Stresses

Lines of Force and Stress Concentrations

Following lines of force can help you visualize where you need material in your designs and where material can be removed.

By drawing lines that represent external forces, you can create designs that most efficiently bear the loads. External loads and pressures cause compression, tension, and other forces that your designs will have to withstand. 

By drawing lines that represent how the force will move within the material in your design, you can see where stress concentrations are likely to occur. Stress concentrations are locations where forces go from being well-distributed to being focused, and are usually the first place to break. You’ll want to reinforce them or avoid them by using smoother curves and larger radiuses at joints, corners, and holes.

Simulation for Understanding Forces

With Finite Element Analysis (FEA) you can apply external forces to your designs and analyze the stresses and displacements that will occur. With dynamic simulation, you can calculate the forces that will act on your design as it moves and operates.

Autodesk Inventor and Autodesk Simulation have FEA capabilities that you can use to analyze your designs. If you’re a student or educator, you can download both for free in the Autodesk Education Community Download Center