Managing Interactions in SOLIDWORKS Simulation

Managing Interactions is something that comes up constantly when working on customer projects in SOLIDWORKS Simulation. There are three things to be concerned about when trying to plan, setup, and review Interactions in the analysis:

  • Where Local Interactions will have to be defined manually between faces and components
  • What type of Interaction is used and which faces/components need to be selected
  • Making sure Contact Interactions are defined between the correct components

There are three tools and plots in SOLIDWORKS and SOLIDWORKS Simulation that can be used to visualize and check the contacts in an analysis: Interference Detection, Interaction Viewer, and Contact Pressure Plots. Let’s take a brief look at how each of these work.

Interference Detection

In SOLIDWORKS Simulation, the Global Interaction will automatically apply the specified Interaction type (Bonded, Contact, Free,...) to all faces that are initially touching. To help see which faces will be used, there is a tool within SOLIDWORKS called Interference Detection. To use it, start by going to Tools > Evaluate > Interference Detection. This is where you can enable the option to “Treat coincidence as interference”.

Interference Detection Property Manager - Treat coincidence as interference.png

Under the results section, there will be a list of all the initially touching faces. Clicking on a result will highlight the touching faces in red as in the screenshot below. Don’t forget to enable the options to “Show ignored interferences” and “Include multibody part interferences”.

Coincident Faces shown in Red.png

Bonus Tip: This tool is also one of the four tools we recommend using before running a Flow Simulation Project as shown here. As the name suggests, interference between components can be found by not enabling the “Treat coincidence as interference” option. Removing interferences will help prevent problems when trying to mesh and solve an analysis.

Interaction Viewer

The Interaction Viewer can be used to help visualize the type of Interactions and the faces/components that are used. To access the Interaction Viewer, right-click the Connections folder in the Simulation tree and choose “Interaction Viewer”.

Interaction Viewer.png

After clicking Calculate, the results section will show all the Interactions that have been defined along with, whether it is a Global Interaction, Component Interaction, or Local Interaction, and the type of Interaction. Selecting an item in the results will use a particular color, based on the type of Interaction that is defined, to highlight the face in the graphics area. Below is a table of the types of Interactions and associated colors that are used:  

Contact Type Color Rendering







Shrink Fit


Virtual Wall


Thermal Contact Resistance





Contact Pressure Plots

In SOLIDWORKS Simulation, a useful plot to help see if there is a Contact Interaction defined between components is a contact pressure plot. Contact pressure is the result of two bodies coming into contact during an analysis with a Contact Interaction defined between them. To create a contact pressure plot, define a Stress Plot by right-clicking the Results folder from the Simulation tree and from the dropdown for stress component, select "CP: Contact Pressure".

Define Stress Plot - Contact Pressure.png

The plot that is generated can either be a vector plot that shows contact pressure between all components or a color plot that shows contact pressure between selected components. Starting with SOLIDWORKS Simulation 2014, contact pressure plots can also be created in a 2D simplification analysis.

Contact Pressure Plot.png

Hopefully, these tools can help you set up Interactions more quickly and efficiently. To learn more about these features and tools, we recommend looking at the SOLIDWORKS and SOLIDWORKS Simulation Help. 

For further technical support, please contact Hawk Ridge Systems at 877.266.4469 for the U.S. or 866.587.6803 for Canada and

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