Totally numb question from non-engineer, so sorry about that. For my little home project I need to create a matrix of solenoids, so I need some kind of simulation. I wish to be able to create metal rod of specific volume and mass, and coil with specific number of turns, so being able to apply current source to coil, see rod movement, if it occurs, to be able to experiment with voltage, coil turns or rod mass. I have no experience with CAD software whatsoever I must say.

I saw some demo videos with solidworks where there was Newtonian Cradle simulation using motion analysis, is there the same 'simple' and 'intuitive' type of simulation for motion analysis with electromagnetic field? For example so I can create electromagnet, place some metal on it, then turn on current and it will attract (or repell) in live?

I saw such motion simulations in solidworks and inventor, also comsol multiphysics looks promising, can anyone suggest some?


  • $\begingroup$ it would be helpful if you included links to the videos you mention $\endgroup$
    – Fred
    Aug 15 '15 at 0:26
  • $\begingroup$ @Fred yes, here youtube.com/watch?v=0xzoKf-afp4 for example. I ment I saw motion simulations, but want to find "motion simulations in electromagnetic field", didn't find the last one though. $\endgroup$
    – sandric
    Aug 15 '15 at 6:14
  • $\begingroup$ gmsh and getdp should do the job ! $\endgroup$
    – TZDZ
    Aug 31 '15 at 12:51
  • $\begingroup$ You could try using Comsol Multiphysics it can do magnetic field simulation as well as multibody silulation. But i still wonder wether you are in fact not hunting ducks with a surface to air misslie system. $\endgroup$
    – joojaa
    Sep 25 '16 at 19:09

There are quite a few options when it comes to computational electromagnetics - both free and commercial. ANSYS has various options to do this sort of analysis, as well as COMSOL Multiphysics, but both are commercial and quite costly. There are some free options as well - openEMS comes to mind, as well as getdp.

It sounds like you're asking for a coupled simulation where the force from the field is used to impart some motion to the projectile. It may honestly be simpler to do that math by hand if you're new to modeling. All of the above options will require you to construct some geometry - ANSYS and COMSOL can import things like Solidworks as well as having their own methods of defining geometry, but this is often one of the most complex steps of creating a useful simulation. There are free methods of constructing geometry - Gmsh, Salome, FreeCAD.

Simulation and modeling takes a lot of time. You may be better served by seeking an analytical treatment of the force or acceleration produced (which, for the parameters you're talking about in solenoids, almost certainly exist in the literature).


You can use ANSYS Electromagnetics Suite to simulate your project. There are some videos on Youtube showing how to do it using ANSYS Maxwell and Simplorer. In this example, a magnet is moving with a constant speed inside a coil.

  • $\begingroup$ You might want to warn the original questioner that ANSYS is commercial software and requires a fair level of sophistication from the user. $\endgroup$
    – Eric S
    Jan 21 '17 at 18:24

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.