I have a long shaft supported on both ends with sherical bearings and am not sure of the best way to model these. Ideally I would like to include the stiffness of the bearings but a rigid restraint would suffice.
I can use the pin constraint but I don't believe that this allows the nodes on the bearing location on the shaft to freely displace due to the bending of the shaft. Is there a better way? I thought about connecting beam elements to the surface of the shaft but then there is always the question of their stiffness. Idea's?
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I would suggest to use "Remote load" option (just to create spiders connecting the surface nodes to the centre of your spherical bearings).
Once you've your spiders, you can define them as Rigid elements (in a static analysis). Otherwise, you can define them as beams with a fictif section of very stiff beams as compared to the shaft section. even giving the same section as the main shaft to the beams will make it (almost infinitely) rigid (as there will be many of them).
Once you've your spiders, just select the main node (converging the beams) and block them in Translations (Tx, Ty, Tz)