Inventor FEA - Force Load vs. Bearing Load?

So you are running an FEA analysis in Inventor, and you need to apply a load to a cylindrical face. Do you use a regular "Force Load" or a "Bearing Load"? The answer really depends on how the force should be distributed on the face in question. A bearing load will apply the load in a parabolic distribution, while the force load will be an even distribution.


OK, lets take a look at a couple of loading scenarios and the results that each provides. I have used the shock tube from one of the Inventor sample files as an example.

In the first analysis I used a Force Load. Notice that the stress is not centered on the cylindrical face, but rather along its edges as if the cylinder was being stretched.

In the second analysis I used a bearing load. Note that the highest stress is focused on the center of the cylinder. This is much more realistic in a case where a bearing or shaft is acting radially on the cylindrical face.

Contributed by Ben of the CAD Geeks