Key Features

  • Single environment for simulating 3D mechanical systems together with multidomain physical systems and control algorithms in Simulink®
  • Part definition tools, including standard geometry, extrusions defined in MATLAB®, and STEP files
  • Mechanical joints and constraints covering standard and custom kinematic relationships
  • Simulation modes for analyzing motion and calculating forces
  • 3D animation of multibody system dynamics
  • Simscape Multibody™ Link utility, for interfacing to PTC® Creo™ (Pro/ENGINEER®), SOLIDWORKS®, and Autodesk Inventor®; XML Schema, for interfacing with other CAD platforms
  • Support for C-code generation (with Simulink Coder™)

Defining Parts and Joints

Simscape Multibody™ enables you to model systems such as construction equipment, car suspensions, and robots. You can use standard components or create custom parts and constraints.


Simscape Multibody lets you define rigid and flexible parts using parameterized 3D shapes. You can also create custom parts by defining 2D profiles in MATLAB and extruding them along a line or revolving them about an axis. You can use STEP, STL, and native CAD files to define parts. Using a 3D interface, you can place and orient part frames that enable connections via joints or serve as references for measurements.

FMTC engineers reduced fuel use by 25%, shortened analysis time by 75%, and reduced total cost of ownership by 15%.
Metso validated a control system for hundreds of hydraulic valves, eliminated manual tuning at the customer site, and saved months of design time.

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Joints and Constraints

Simscape Multibody provides joints and constraints covering standard and custom kinematic relationships. For example, you can create a four-bar mechanism using revolute joints or define a barrel cam mechanism with a point-curve constraint. Gear constraints, such as rack-and-pinion and bevel gears, are also included. You can add friction and backlash. You can use a flexible method to define the initial positions and velocities of your joints.

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Simscape Multibody enables you to define forces on parts and joints. You can apply stiffness and damping forces or torques to joints based on their movement or via a signal input. You can apply forces and torques to parts at any reference frame. Uniform gravity, fixed or specified by a signal input, can be applied to the entire mechanism. You can also define a gravitational field centered at a point, which is useful for planetary or satellite motion.

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Reusable Parts and Mechanisms

You can define fully parameterized parts and mechanisms that can be reused in other designs. For example, you can create a single actuated leg of a Stewart platform, and then copy and paste it to model all six legs. You can give access to key component parameters via a dialog box, and provide a link to documentation integrated in the MATLAB Documentation browser. Being able to reuse models increases your teams’ efficiency.

Model of a custom actuator component that uses Simscape Multibody and Simscape Fluids (right). The hydromechanical actuator model is reused multiple times in a backhoe model (left).

Importing from CAD

You can import entire CAD assemblies, including parts, mates, and joints, into a Simscape Multibody model. This enables you to simulate your mechanical design together with electric, hydraulic, pneumatic, and control systems.

Exporting from CAD

You can export assemblies from CAD software to an XML file and corresponding geometry files, and import the data into Simscape Multibody to automatically create the model. Installing a plug-in enables export from PTC Creo (Pro/ENGINEER), SOLIDWORKS, and Autodesk Inventor. Assemblies in Onshape® can be extracted using a MATLAB command. For other CAD software, you can explore MathWorks® partner program, or use this example CAD script and MATLAB code to enable export.

APL researchers automatically generated a model from CAD, integrated an electromechanical design with neural inputs, and verified and safety-tested control software through simulation.
Methods of importing CAD models into Simscape Mulitbody.

Importing Models

Simscape Multibody models can be created automatically from an XML file exported from CAD software. The XML file has a specific structure containing key information about parts, mates, joints, and geometry files. Importing the XML file creates bodies using the geometry files and converts CAD mate definitions to joints. The Simscape Multibody XML schema is published, enabling you to import models from other modeling software.

Converting a CAD assembly to a model using Simscape Multibody Link. A CAD plug-in automates the export of XML and STEP files from CAD software for import into Simscape Multibody.

Animation and Analysis

Simscape Multibody helps you understand the behavior of your mechanism by providing a 3D animation of the simulation results. You can calculate forces the actuators must produce and forces the parts must withstand.

Animating Simulation Results

Simscape Multibody automatically creates a 3D visualization of your model and generates an animation of the simulation results. You can replay and explore the animation and save the animation to a file. The 3D view lets you explore the model and navigate to the schematic view to verify model structure and explore plotted results. You can view the animation from multiple static or moving viewpoints simultaneously.

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Measuring Forces

Simscape Multibody enables you to choose actuators by calculating the force or torque required to achieve a specified motion. You can refine the requirements for parts in your design by determining the forces and torques the parts in your design will experience. Analyzing these quantities in closed-loop simulation with the electrical, hydraulic, pneumatic, and other systems help you create an optimized design.

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Simulink Enabled Capabilities

Simulink capabilities enable you to solve challenging control design problems using Simscape Multibody models. Advanced linearization and automatic control tuning techniques help you apply complex control strategies and rapidly find controller gains that achieve robustness and response time goals. Profiling and advisor tools identify bottlenecks in your simulation and help you improve your model.

Simulating Models

Simscape Multibody provides specialized solver technology for simulating multibody mechanical systems. You can perform different types of analyses, including forward dynamics, inverse dynamics, and kinematics.

Equation Reduction and Solver Technology

You can rely on Simscape Multibody to automatically formulate the equations for your entire mechanical system. The equations are solved together with the rest of your model, which may include electrical, hydraulic, pneumatic, and control systems. After parsing your schematic, Simscape™ uses symbolic manipulation and index reduction to identify the mathematical formulation that most efficiently represents your entire system.

Real-Time Simulation

Simscape Multibody uses specialized simulation technology to enable your simulations to run in real time. You can configure both explicit and implicit solvers to limit the amount of computation per time step while maintaining the accuracy you require. You can use different solvers on different portions of the same model to minimize execution time. These capabilities let you use your model for HIL testing, training simulators, and other situations where simulation execution must be synchronized with a real-time system.

Volvo Construction Equipment tested new concepts for construction equipment, reduced the number of prototypes by 30-50%, and resolved field issues faster.

MATLAB Enabled Capabilities

Capabilities in MATLAB enable you to efficiently solve challenging problems with your Simscape Multibody simulations. Any simulation task can be automated using MATLAB code. Optimization algorithms help you quickly identify an optimal set of parameters or components for your design. You can accelerate optimizations and parameter sweeps by running your simulations in parallel on multiple cores or a computing cluster.

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Simscape Platform

Simscape is the platform for all Simscape add-on products. In addition to the Foundation libraries, it provides much of the core technology for modeling and simulating physical systems in all domains.

Modeling with Physical Connections

Simscape components represent physical elements, such as pumps, motors, and op-amps. Lines in your model that connect these components correspond to physical connections in the real system that transmit power. This approach lets you describe the physical structure of a system rather than the underlying mathematics. Electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, and other physical connections are represented in your multidomain schematic by lines whose color indicates their physical domain. You can see right away which systems are in your model and how they are connected to one another.

Mitsuba teams reduced development time by 80%, determined the impact of physical design on motor control, and tested the wiper system under conditions that are difficult to reproduce.

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Simscape Platform Capabilities

Simscape Multibody is based on Simscape, which provides much of the core technology and capabilities necessary for modeling and simulating physical systems in all domains. Simscape enables you to:

The Simscape Foundation library, pictured in the Simulink library browser (left). It provides hundreds of components in many domains (example blocks right).

Simscape Product Family

The Simscape family of products consists of six products that cover a range of applications. You can combine any set of the Simscape add-on products with the Simscape platform to model multidomain physical systems. The add-on products include more advanced blocks and analysis methods.

The Simscape family of products, shown in the Simulink library browser (left). The products provide hundreds of components (examples upper right), and advanced analysis tools including 3D animation from Simscape Multibody (lower right).

Converting to C Code

You can convert Simscape Multibody models into C code using Simulink Coder. Converting Simscape Multibody models to C code enables them to be used for tasks such as HIL testing and optimization where batch simulations are performed. Converting to C code also enables you to share protected models.

Testing Without Hardware Prototypes

Simscape Multibody models enable you to test embedded control algorithms and controller hardware without using hardware prototypes. In addition to software-in-the-loop (SIL) and processor-in-the-loop (PIL) tests, converting your Simscape Multibody models to C code lets you run hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) tests. This enables you to test embedded controllers without endangering equipment and personnel, and increases your confidence that the system will behave as specified when you connect the controller to the real system.

Teams automated model translation from CAD and other modeling software, verified flight software prior to launch using HIL testing, and determined thousands of control parameters.
Workflow for testing embedded software and hardware without prototypes. Convert an algorithm to C code for PIL tests, and convert a Simscape model to C code for HIL tests.

Running Batch Simulations

Many engineering tasks, such as optimizations and parameter sweeps, require running many sets of simulations. Converting your Simscape Multibody model to C code enables the efficient execution of these tasks. You can accelerate individual simulations, and run batches of simulations in parallel over multiple processors or distributed across a computing cluster.

DCNS minimized expensive at-sea testing, verified system stability over hundreds of configurations, and validated simulation results against measured data

Sharing Models

Simscape helps you make efficient use of your purchased software when sharing models that use Simscape Multibody. It also provides methods of sharing models while protecting your intellectual property.

Accessing Capabilities in Simscape Add-on Products

Using Simscape Editing Mode, Simscape users can perform many tasks on models that use Simscape add-on products even if they have not purchased the add-on products. Those tasks include viewing, simulating, and changing parameter values in the model. As a result, your team can leverage advanced components and capabilities from the entire Simscape product family without requiring that each engineer purchase a license for each Simscape add-on product.

Working with Simscape Models
Task Model Developer
(Purchases Simscape and Simscape Multibody)
Model User
(Purchases Simscape)
Log data and plot results
Change numerical parameters
Generate code with Simulink Coder
View Simscape Multibody animations
Access PowerGUI functions and settings
Change block parameterization options  
Make or break physical connections  

Sharing Protected Models

You can share Simscape Multibody models with other users while protecting your intellectual property. You can protect custom components defined using the Simscape language as well as subsystems containing Simscape Multibody blocks. Sharing these models lets other users run simulations, vary parameters, and convert them to C code, but prevents them from seeing the original implementation.

Simscape in Academia

MATLAB, Simulink, and Simscape are used at many leading universities. Educators can use modeling and simulation with 3D visualization to engage students with realistic examples and make classroom theory come alive. Using simulation, students can prototype in a virtual environment, which encourages them to try out new designs and to explore the entire parameter space. Simulation enables them to optimize their designs in research projects and student competitions. Because these products are also used widely across industries such as automotive, aerospace, and robotics, graduating students who have experience with MATLAB, Simulink, and Simscape are in demand by employers.

Learn more about engaging students with modeling and simulation.

Students acquire engineering communication skills and are motivated with real-world challenges. Graduates are prepared for their careers.