6.3. Using a Rotating Reference Frame

The primary application for a rotating (rather than a stationary) frame of reference is in the field of flexible body dynamics where, generally, the structure has no stationary parts and the entire structure is rotating. Analyses of this type, therefore, consider only the Coriolis force.


Note:   The gyroscopic effect is not included in the dynamics equations expressed in a rotating reference frame. Therefore, if the structure contains a part with large inertia - such as a large disk - the results obtained in the rotating reference frame may not compare well with stationary reference frame results.


ANSYS computes the displacement field with respect to the coordinate system attached to the structure and rotating with it at the specified angular velocity (CORIOLIS,Option = ON,,,RefFrame = OFF).

Elements Supported

The Coriolis matrix and forces are available for the structural elements listed in the notes section of the CORIOLIS  command.

Analysis Types Supported

The following analysis types support rotating structure analysis using a rotating reference frame:

Spin Softening

In a dynamic analysis, the Coriolis matrix and the spin-softening matrix contribute to the gyroscopic moment in the rotating reference frame; therefore, ANSYS includes the spin-softening effect by default in dynamic analyses whenever you apply the Coriolis effect in the rotating reference frame (CORIOLIS,ON).

Supercritical Spin Softening

As shown by equations (3-77) through (3-79) in the Mechanical APDL Theory Reference, the diagonal coefficients in the stiffness matrix become negative when the rotational velocity is larger than the resonant frequency.

In such cases, the solver may be unable to properly handle the negative definite stiffness matrix. Additional details follow:

  • In a static (ANTYPE,STATIC) or a full transient (ANTYPE,TRANS with TRNOPT,FULL), the spin-softening effect is more accurately accounted for by large deflections (NLGEOM,ON). If the stiffness matrix becomes negative definite, ANSYS issues a warning message about the negative pivot.

  • In a modal analysis (ANTYPE,MODAL), apply a negative shift (MODOPT,,, FREQB) to extract the possible negative eigenfrequencies.

  • If negative frequencies exist, mode-superposition transient and harmonic analyses are not supported .

Coriolis Effect in a Nonlinear Transient Analysis

In a nonlinear transient analysis with large deflection effects (NLGEOM, ON ), rotation motion imparted through either the IC command or the D command contributes the Coriolis effect as part of the nonlinear transient algorithm. The CORIOLIS command should not be activated in this case. However, beam elements (BEAM188 and BEAM189), and pipe elements (PIPE288 and PIPE289 ) may produce approximate results when simulating Coriolis effect as above, due to the approximations involved in their inertia calculations.

Campbell Diagram

Because natural frequencies are subject to sudden changes around critical speeds in a rotating frame, ANSYS, Inc. recommends using a stationary reference frame to create a Campbell diagram (PRCAMP or PLCAMP).

Example Analysis

For examples of a rotating structure analysis using a rotating reference frame, see Example Coriolis Analysis, and Example: Piezoelectric Analysis with Coriolis Effect in the Coupled-Field Analysis Guide.


Release 17.0 - © SAS IP, Inc. All rights reserved.