Simulation of cables with tension-only materials

Hello, everyone!

I’m going to model a network of cables connected to a body.

I’m using solid elements for the body.

I have a few inquiries:

1- Which element type is more appropriate for my situation?

truss or beam elements?

2- What should I do about the connection between the parts of the beam and the solid elements?

3- As far as I’m aware, calculix has no real beam or truss elements.

They were expanded into solid elements by the solver.

Should I use small beam elements with close dimensions to the cross section area in this case?

Thank you once again,

Typically, truss elements are used for such applications but you could also use beams. The difference is that beams have bending stiffness while trusses don’t. The connection can indeed be tricky and might be easier with beams than with trusses. Tie constraint should handle the connection. Check this thread for some examples:


I was able to validate a catenary problem with beam elements some weeks ago.
I failed on my first attempt when I tried with truss and only tension.
There is a post in the forum with the reference to the files.

B32 element with Dynamic displacement under gravity report an error

I recommend you using a strip (flat beam). Respect the overall section to recover the right stresses but reconfigure the shape to minimize the bending resistance. Don’t go too thin in thickness or it will fail. Start with some pre-shape and add damping in case you go to dynamic.
Prepare some hot Tea and patience if you go to nonlinear dynamics. Find a link to a vid with the result.

in 3d analysis model, truss element required additional restraint to prevent rigid body motion or unstable structure.

you can use beam element with end rotational release to be comparable with truss element, CalculiX has equation feature for these task.