Create a Refined Mesh in SOLIDWORKS Simulation [VIDEO]

Article by Scott Durksen, CSWE updated April 12, 2013


When using Solid elements in SOLIDWORKS Simulation, it is crucial to have a well defined mesh in your study to obtain accurate stress results.  Here are some items to check to see if your SOLIDWORKS Simulation mesh is sufficient.  If not, refine the mesh or add mesh controls to the specific areas.

Fine Mesh

  • 2-3 high quality elements across the thickness of the geometry
SOLIDWORKS Simulation Mesh

SOLIDWORKS Simulation Mesh Two Elements

  • Aspect Ratio below 50 in regions of crucial importance, all other areas should be limited by approximately 1000.
Aspect Ratio

Aspect Ratio

  • Jacobian Ratio of 40 or less, with the minimum value no less than 1.
Jacobian Ratio

Jacobian Ratio

  • Smooth stress gradients.  Blotchy stress gradients indicate large changes of stress between elements.
Blotchy Gradient

Blotchy Stresses Indicates Poor Mesh

Smooth Gradient

Add Mesh Controls to Crucial Areas for Smooth Stress Gradients

The Aspect Ratio is looking for excessively distorted elements through the ratio of the difference in element edge length, element normal length and radius of inscribed/circumscribed circles.  By definition, a perfect tetrahedral element has an Aspect Ratio of 1.0.

The Jacobian Ratio looks for distorted elements based on the curvature of the element as High quality elements are second order.  When the elements are mapped to highly curved geometry, the midpoints of the nodes cause the element to become distorted.  A perfect tetrahedral element will have a ratio of 1.0, given it has straight edges.  As the curvature increases, the ratio does as well.  An extremely distorted element can have a negative value indicating self-intersecting geometry.  A negative Jacobian will cause the study to fail with an error.

Watch this video for a demonstration of this technique:

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Scott Durksen, CSWE

Scott is a SOLIDWORKS Elite Applications Engineer and is based in our Dartmouth, Nova Scotia office.