Non-Linear Contact

Non-Linear Contact

Non-linear contact is one of the three non-linear behaviours in structural analysis, see: (

Non-linear contact is required where the load path between parts of an assembly is affected by the load direction.

A typical example where non-linear contact has to be taken into account is a bolted flange. There, a tensile load is transferred by a tensile force in the bolts, whereas a compressive force is transferred by contact pressure between the contact faces of the flanges.

To simulate this behaviour correctly, the FEA solver has to determine if there would be a tensile or a compressive force between the contact faces. For a tensile force, the contact will be “opened”, that means no load is transferred. For a compressive force, the contact will be “closed”, hence transferring the load. This requires the FEA solver to constantly check and adjust the contact status for every “patch” (or element face) on the contact surface.

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