Is there a standard way of implementing rolling friction in COMMERCIAL finite element software?

There's no book about such a subject in COMMERCIAL FEM software though there are books on algorithms that are best for people writing code themselves (e.g. Wrigger's "Computational Contact Mechanics' book has a section on rolling friction but doesn't help this post). There were attempts on friction or rolling in such software but didn't find anything particular about rolling friction. This post isn't about writing algorithms by oneself or but about tricks of using COMMERCIAL FEM software to implement rolling friction.

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    $\begingroup$ Nobody can answer this question without knowing what software you are referring to, and if you had a specific piece of software in mind, user forums/email lists for that software would likely be a good place to look $\endgroup$
    – whpowell96
    Jan 30 at 20:35
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    $\begingroup$ I don't understand the question. Why would the methods implemented in commercial software be any different from what other people (or Wriggers) use? What is it really you are asking? $\endgroup$ Jan 30 at 21:59
  • $\begingroup$ @whpowell96 Like ansys. But they don't have an online community like this here $\endgroup$
    – feynman
    Feb 1 at 5:55
  • $\begingroup$ @WolfgangBangerth for users of commercial software one just needs to know the GUI software settings and implementation procedure but not the algorithms talked about in theory books $\endgroup$
    – feynman
    Feb 1 at 5:57
  • $\begingroup$ I searched and found many official links on the Ansys website. I don't think anyone on this forum would be able to give you detailed instructions on how to implement something at the level of a GUI better than a user forum. $\endgroup$
    – whpowell96
    Feb 1 at 14:17

1 Answer 1


To be more precise, you do not implement rolling friction in finite element but you can model rolling friction.

Rolling friction is the consequence of several lower level phenomena that can be implemented in a FE model:

  1. Hysteresis in the material of the rolling body and/or the substrate. Can be implemented in FEA with viscoelasticity.
  2. Plasticity in the material of the rolling body and/or the substrate. Can be implemented in FEA with finite strain elastoplasticity.
  3. Coulomb friction between the rolling body and the substrate. Can be implemented in FEA with penalization or Largrange multipliers.

If you implement all or some of these and you measure the tangential force applied to the rolling body, you will get the rolling friction force.

But as said, rolling friction is an output of a model not a low level law that can be modeled directly.

  • $\begingroup$ thank you very much. Your answer is what I expected for so long. Is viscoelasticity the simplest go to approach to modeling rolling friction? Is the offset of normal force away from the centre (=hysteresis) a result of viscoelasticity or plasticity? $\endgroup$
    – feynman
    Feb 9 at 15:54

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