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Discover the Power of Thor's Hammer with SOLIDWORKS Simulation

Mike Dady on November 3, 2017 at 11:25 AM


This week marks the release of Thor: Ragnorak, the highly anticipated 17th entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Ever since the first trailer dropped back in April many of us around the office have been counting down the days till we finally would be able to see what is next in store for the God of Thunder. 

Well let's just say I couldn't wait that long. Lucky for me there is SOLIDWORKS Simulation, a fantastic tool for testing your design performance in both linear and non-linear dynamic settings. So if it can test the accurate behavior of a bicycle gear or a car suspension, it certainly could be used to test one of the most fearsome and powerful weapons in the Marvel universe right? Let's find out!


The Power of Thor's Hammer 

OK, I don't know about you but I had goosebumps the first time that I saw that. We've seen Thor's hammer be shrugged off by some pretty tough baddies, but not stopped cold. I mean it's Mjolnir right? "Who so ever holds this hammer, be they worthy, should possess the power of Thor" and all that.

Discover the Power of Thor's Hammer with SOLIDWORKS Simulation

However, when the initial shock wore off, the engineer/nerd in me started thinking. What did Hela just accomplish? We all know that Mjolnir is pretty badass, but how badass? I decided to use SOLIDWORKS Simulation and find out. 

According to Sir Isaac Newton, there are two pieces of information needed for us to proceed, velocity and mass. So our quest starts with a little fact finding via the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I would like to say that I watched the movies again to accomplish this, but that is not the case. I will reference the nerd comment made earlier. 

We've seen Mjolnir break the sound barrier in movies so we will start with the speed of sound, which is about 13,000 in/s or 760 mph. For the weight, the All-Father himself provides us with that answer. Odin comments that Thor's hammer was forged from the heart of a dying star. In this case, we will use the density of the Sun's core at roughly 5lb/in³. 

Prepping the Simulation

Now that we have all the information we need, we can get everything set up in SOLIDWORKS. I won't bore everyone with all the details of the setup, but there are a few things to point out. The model is setup as a multi-body part with the hammer and a steel plate. We can use an assembly just as easily if we wanted. To analyze the problem we use a non-linear dynamic study. There are a couple of items to note in that setup as well. 

Discover the Power of Thor's Hammer with SOLIDWORKS Simulation

The first item is fairly obvious in the model. We have a circular split face where the hammer is impacting the steel plate. With this type of study it is common to have to refine the mesh and the split face allows us to do that only in the area needed. To represent the impact accurately we do not want any bonded contact, so we removed the global contact and replaced it with a no penetration contact set between the hammer and the steel plate.

Aside from fixing the outside of the steel plate, we added an On Cylindrical Faces fixture on the handle to keep the hammer square to the plate. We also specified an initial velocity for the hammer to generate our impact. Lastly, we created a custom material for the hammer with a higher material density. Both the velocity and the density were initially reduced from the high values mentioned earlier. We decided to ramp things up since we were dealing with some extreme forces. 

Unfortunately, because of the extreme nature of the forces we were using the default settings for the study had to be adjusted. The initial set of changes included reducing the start time and maxed increment by a factor of 10, activating the large strain option and increasing the max incremental strain from the advanced options. 

Discover the Power of Thor's Hammer with SOLIDWORKS Simulation

These changes allowed us to review the first set of results, as we can see the first time step is after the initial impact and the hammer is rebounding from the plate. We use the probe tool and a response graph to determine the timing of the initial impact and adjusted our settings accordingly.

Once we adjusted our time settings we continue to increase the velocity and density of the hammer along with thickening the steel plate. The ramp up again prompted us to adjust the study settings. After all of the changes we reduced the initial time step to 10 micro seconds and the max time increment to one thousandth of a second. 

The Final Verdict 

Discover the Power of Thor's Hammer with SOLIDWORKS Simulation

At these speeds it doesn't take long to flex the steel and rebound the hammer. The last change made was refining the mesh on the hammer to produce a smooth stress distribution. 

So how big a baddie is Hela? Very bad! As we can see the max stresses on the hammer are measured in millions of PSI. Also, I would DEFINITELY want more than 6 inches of alloy steel between myself and Thor if I ever upset him. 


SOLIDWORKS Simulation was able to tackle a problem this big, imagine what it can do in the real world. If you are interested learning more about what SOLIDWORKS Simulation can do, check out our recent Reduce Product Weight with SOLIDWORKS Simulation Optimization blog post or our Simulation Video & Resource Library for other related content.

Also, make sure to check out Thor: Ragnarok, in theaters November 3rd.


Discover the Power of Thor's Hammer with SOLIDWORKS Simulation

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