Adjusting surface to surface contact

surface to surface contact

Adjusting surface-to-surface contact

If some nodes of the slave surface are penetrated the master surface in the initial stages and cause some convergence problems, how can we solve this issue?


What is surface-to-surface contact in Abaqus? | Surface Contact

In Abaqus, the term “surface-to-surface contact” refers to a type of interaction between two surfaces. Faces belonging to different bodies or parts in a finite element analysis (FEA) model. It enables the simulation of contact and interaction between these surfaces taking into account factors such as friction, sliding, separation or penetration.

Surface-to-surface contact is commonly utilized when there is no need to precisely model the contact behavior at a node or point level. Instead, it focuses on considering the interaction between surface areas. This approach is appropriate, for scenarios where the overall behavior of the surfaces interaction takes precedence over localized interactions.

When defining surface-to-surface contact in Abaqus, you typically specify the contact pairs or surfaces involved, the contact behavior (such as friction, separation, or tie constraints), and the contact properties (such as contact stiffness, friction coefficients, and contact parameters). Abaqus then determines the contact forces and interactions between the surfaces during the analysis based on the defined contact behavior and properties.

Surface-to-surface contact in Abaqus allows for the simulation of various real-world scenarios, such as metal-to-metal contact, contact between different materials, contact between deformable bodies, and sliding or separation between surfaces. It enables the accurate representation of contact phenomena and is widely used in structural, mechanical, and multiphysics simulations to analyze the behavior of complex assemblies or systems where contact interactions play a significant role. Surface-to-surface contact can be specified in any step of the analysis, even in the initial step. To define it, go to the main menu bar, click on “Interaction,” then select “Create.” From there, choose the master and slave surfaces involved in the contact interaction.

How to adjust surface contact in Abaqus? | Surface adjustment

If you are faced with this issue at the beginning of the process, as illustrated in figure 1, you can solve this issue through three options in the “Edit Interaction” window (see Figure 2).



Figure 1: penetration of some slave nodes into the master surface

surface to surface contactFigure 2: slave adjustment options

Now, if you use the “Adjust only to remove overclosure” or select the “Specify tolerance for adjustment zone” and specify the zero value, the software will only adjust the nodes that penetrated the master surface (see Figure 3).

Figure 3: adjusted nodes

Figure 3: adjusted nodes

Figure 3: adjusted nodes

If you specify any other value than zero in the adjustment zone, for example, see figure 1, the software will move any nodes within the adjustment zone precisely onto the master surface (see figure 4).

Figure 4: nodes moved on to the master surface

Figure 4: nodes moved on to the master surface

Figure 4: nodes moved on to the master surface

By selecting the “Adjust slave nodes in set”, you would be able to create a node set of those nodes of slave surface that may cause convergence issues, and the software will only check them and take action. If the node set contains nodes not belonging to the slave surface, the software will ignore them.

Surface adjustment | Abaqus contact adjust

To ensure proper conformity between the master (main) and slave (secondary) surfaces in Abaqus, it is recommended to follow the guidelines provided in the Abaqus Manual:

  1. Increase the element density of the slave surface compared to the master surface.
  2. Assign the slave surface to the smaller of the two surfaces.
  3. Assign the master surface to the stiffer body, considering both geometry and material properties.

If it is not feasible to satisfy all three criteria, priority should be given to the first two guidelines for achieving optimal conformity.


Master/Slave surfaces basic rules

In surface-to-surface contacts, which one should be master?

Master surface and slave surface in Abaqus | Abaqus master slave surface

When defining surface-to-surface contact in Abaqus, you need to specify the master and slave surfaces for each contact pair. The contact forces and interactions are then determined based on the defined contact behavior, properties, and the relative motion between the master and slave surfaces.

In a surface-to-surface contact analysis, the contact forces are calculated based on the interaction between the nodes or elements on the slave surface and the corresponding nodes or elements on the master surface. The master surface is responsible for driving the contact behavior and influencing the interaction between the surfaces.

What is the master surface? | main surface

In Abaqus, the term “master surface” refers to one of the two surfaces involved in a contact interaction. In newer versions of Abaqus the master surface is called “Main surface”. When modeling contact between two bodies or parts, the master surface is the surface that controls the contact behavior and generates the contact forces.

The selection of the master surface is important as it determines how the contact forces will be computed and applied during the analysis. The master surface is typically the surface that remains stationary or undergoes less deformation compared to the other surface, which is known as the “slave surface.”

What is a slave surface? | secondary surface

In Abaqus, the term “slave surface” refers to one of the two surfaces involved in a contact interaction. When modeling contact between two bodies or parts, the slave surface is the surface that adapts its behavior based on the contact forces imposed by the master surface.

The slave surface is typically the surface that undergoes relative motion or deformation in response to the contact forces generated by the master surface. It adjusts its position and shape to conform to the contacting surface of the master surface.

Master slave contact

Generally, if a larger surface contacts a smaller surface, it would be better to have the larger one as master surface; however, if both surfaces have the same size, the one with the stiffer body (usually the rigid surface) should be the master. Note that the slave surface should have meshed more finely than the master. The master will have coarser mesh. Also, the master surface nodes can penetrate the slave surface but not the opposite (see Figure below).

Position of the master and slave surfaces nodes

Position of the master and slave surfaces nodes

Position of the master and slave surfaces nodes

Stress singularity

When I defined the interaction between a rivet and a hole in Abaqus (the contact between them was previously defined as tie contact), I ran into a stress-singularity problem, and as the element number increased, the maximum von Mises stress increased as well. This puzzles me after multiple attempts, including filleting the hole edges. Furthermore, the model did not converge when I changed the tie contact to the penalty contact. Is there any way to resolve the problem?

You could use the Explicit solver to avoid convergence issues. If you want to know more about Standard and Explicit solvers, refer to this link:

Differences between ABAQUS Standard & ABAQUS Explicit

If you need to fix these two parts (hole and rivet), use the tie constraint; otherwise, choose any other interaction that depends on your model, like surface-to-surface contact.

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