Physics Fun with Jamie: Best Practices for Creating Mesh

Article by Jamie Hill, CSWE updated May 8, 2023

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Welcome back to “Physics Fun with Jamie”. Meshing is an important step in the Finite Element Analysis (FEA) process, as it affects the accuracy and efficiency of the simulation. Creating mesh requires careful consideration of the geometry, the material properties, and the boundary conditions of the model. In this tech tip, we will discuss best practices for creating a mesh in SOLIDWORKS FEA.

  1. Understand the geometry of the model: Before creating a mesh, it is important to understand the geometry of the model. SOLIDWORKS FEA provides several tools for analyzing the geometry, including the check geometry tool, which can help identify any gaps or overlaps in the model. It is important to ensure that the geometry is clean and free of errors before creating a mesh.
  1. Define appropriate mesh size: The size of the mesh elements should be appropriate for the geometry of the model. If the elements are too large, the results of the analysis may be inaccurate, while if the elements are too small, the analysis may take longer to run. It is important to strike a balance between accuracy and efficiency when selecting the mesh size.
  1. Use higher order elements: Higher order elements, such as a 2nd, 3rd or even 5th polynomial order element, can improve the accuracy of the mesh by providing better interpolation of the results between the nodes. These elements can be particularly useful for models with curved surfaces or complex geometry.
  1. Use symmetry and simplify the model: Symmetry can be used to simplify the model and reduce the number of elements required for the analysis. This can help reduce the computational time and improve the efficiency of the analysis. Similarly, simplifying the model by removing unnecessary features or details can also reduce the number of elements required for the analysis.
  1. Use mesh controls: Mesh controls can be used to improve the quality of the mesh by increasing the number of elements in areas of high stress or deformation, or by reducing the number of elements in areas of low stress or deformation. This can help improve the accuracy of the results and reduce the computational time required for the analysis.

In conclusion, creating a high-quality mesh is an important step in the FEA process. By understanding the geometry of the model, defining appropriate mesh size, using higher order elements, using symmetry, simplifying the model, and using mesh controls, engineers can create a mesh that is both accurate and efficient. Following these best practices can help improve the accuracy and efficiency of the FEA analysis, and lead to better design decisions.

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Jamie Hill, CSWE

Jamie is a Certified SOLIDWORKS Expert working in the Javelin Oakville, Ontario, Canada office.