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SOLIDWORKS Simulation 2020 Mixed Draft and High Quality Mesh

Article by Scott Durksen, CSWE created/updated October 14, 2019

Draft Quality elements provide faster solve times as each tetrahedral element only contain 4 nodes, one at each vertex.  Switching over to High Quality mesh elements is required for accurate stress results, which adds midpoint nodes putting the node count for a tetrahedral element up to 10 nodes.  The increase in Degrees of Freedom causes longer solution times.

SOLIDWORKS Simulation Draft Quality (1st Order) Element

SOLIDWORKS Simulation Draft Quality (1st Order) Element

SOLIDWORKS Simulation High Quality (2nd order) Element

SOLIDWORKS Simulation High Quality (2nd order) Element

Mixed Draft and High Quality Mesh

SOLIDWORKS Simulation 2020 introduces a big time-saver for running Linear Static studies with all solid bodies.  Previously a study could only run with all Draft Quality or all High Quality elements.  We would run a study with Draft Quality elements to save time initially to check if the study was set up properly, prior to running the study again with High Quality elements for final results.  SOLIDWORKS Simulation 2020 can now run a study with a mixture of High Quality and Draft Quality elements.  Only the important components need to be meshed with High Quality elements for accurate stress results.  The components with small bending effects can be left as Draft elements.

Bodies defined as Draft Quality elements show a tetrahedral element icon with straight edges.  Bodies defined as High Quality elements show a tetrahedral element icon with curved edges. In the screenshot below, the orange arrows show Draft and the blue arrows show High.

SOLIDWORKS Simulation 2020 Mixed Mesh

SOLIDWORKS Simulation 2020 Mixed Mesh

You can switch between element types by right-clicking on a body or multiple bodies in the study tree and ‘Apply Draft Quality Mesh’ or ‘Apply High Quality Mesh’ (depending on its current state).  You can also right-click on the top level ‘Parts’ folder and apply an element type to all bodies.

SOLIDWORKS Simulation 2020 Apply Draft Quality Mesh

SOLIDWORKS Simulation 2020 Apply Draft Quality Mesh

When you go to mesh the model, there will be an additional ‘Mesh Quality’ tab.  This will show a split screen of High Quality and Draft Quality assignments.  You have the option to move items up or down, but it will remember as it was set in the study tree.

NOTE: The Definition tab will no longer show the ‘Draft Quality’ checkbox as this new tab hosts all of the information.

SOLIDWORKS Simulation 2020 Mesh Quality Tab

SOLIDWORKS Simulation 2020 Mesh Quality Tab

Element Colours

Once meshed, the different elements will show as separate colours.  Orange outlines will be Draft elements and Blue will be High elements.  If all bodies are meshed as Draft, they will still all be shown as Orange which is a nice enhancement as a visual queue that you have meshed the model with Draft only.

SOLIDWORKS Simulation 2020 Mesh Colours

SOLIDWORKS Simulation 2020 Mesh Colours

NOTE: Only studies with all Solid elements can take advantage of this functionality.  If some bodies are defined as Shell or Beam elements, you won’t have the ability of mixed mesh.  The option to define the overall mesh as Draft or High quality will still be available in the mesh PropertyManager. Results from Linear Static studies with hybrid meshes are valid as input for dependent study types such as Fatigue, Pressure Vessel, Design, and Submodeling studies.

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Scott Durksen, CSWE

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

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