Below is a video I created after doing some direct modeling with some drive chain and a sprocket using Creo Elements/Direct Modeling. As I mentioned in the video I am not sure how useful this is in the real world, but I found it interesting and wanted to share it. I personally have not done much design with drive chain since my brother and I designed and built a go-cart, about a thousand years ago. The chain kept falling off on those tight corners, (and I lost part of my eyebrow on another tight corner. "Wear a helmet, stupid" - Whatever!).
Chain is interesting simply due to the relationship from one link to the other. By recognizing the physical properties of the solid bodies that make up the chain, you can visualize some of these interesting behaviors, especially as it interacts with the sprocket.
For this example I started out by downloading the sprocket and chain in STEP format from a 3D content web site. I then created the simple shaft in the center of the sprocket. All parts are dumb solids, and there are no assembly relationships to begin with. In the “Position” function of Modeling there is an option called “Physical”. If you turn this option on, the system will recognize the physical properties of the 3D solid models, and recognize the relationships between models in real time (or very close to it). You will notice that I do eventually put a fixed relationship onto the shaft, but I apply no other relationships to the models or assembly. There are no “user defined” relationships defined between the chain and the sprocket, and there are no assembly references. What you see is what you get.
What I find interesting is the various ways of using the “Relations” capability together with the “Physical” option when moving parts. The system doesn't recognize gravity, acceleration or anything like that so it’s not doing kinematics. It simply knows moments of inertia, CG and the fact that these models are solid. And best of all – it makes no difference how the models were created or assembled, and on what CAD system they were created or assembled, (just had to throw that in).