Have you ever heard someone say “sometimes it’s what’s inside that counts”? While there are a number of reasons you might have heard this, today I’ll use it as I discuss a new feature in SOLIDWORKS Simulation 2016 called Mesh Sectioning. Mesh sectioning is a new tool that allows us to view the internal mesh elements in SOLIDWORKS Simulation. If you are a SOLIDWORKS Plastics user, you have already seen similar functionality in that product when using the solid meshing procedure. Let’s take a look at this new addition in Simulation 2016.
Until the release of SOLIDWORKS 2016, we were limited to visualizing the finite element mesh on the surface of our components. We have a number of tools for examining the mesh such as creating an aspect ratio plot or overlaying the mesh onto result plots. Reviewing the mesh on the skin of our components was great, however, it didn’t help us when bad or skewed elements were inside the volume and not on the surface. That is where this cool new feature, Mesh Sectioning , comes into play.
Most of us I’m certain are familiar with using the Section tool from the Heads Up Toolbar or creating section views for our Engineering drawings. This is similar to how the Mesh Sectioning tool works, except it is not sectioning the CAD model. Rather it is sectioning the Finite Element Model, a discretized version of the CAD file.
When using the Mesh Sectioning tool, you have the option to create the view using either a planar section or a cylindrical section. After that, the controls work very similar to that of the other available sectioning tools both for SOLIDWORKS and Simulation. To access Mesh Sectioning, right click on a result plot and choose the new option from the list. Once in use, you can dynamically position the section using the drag handles in the graphics window or modify values in the Property Manager.
Here is an example of Mesh Sectioning of an Aspect Ratio plot.
Here is an example of Mesh Sectioning on a Result Plot.
The new Mesh Sectioning tool in Simulation 2016 has the power to see inside of our designs taking the guess work out of things like the quality of the mesh or how deep the highest stresses protrude into the volume. It’s a powerful new tool to help us all create better designs. Be sure to use the Mesh Sectioning tool to take a look inside your finite element mesh and see that it’s the quality of the mesh on the inside that counts. Now go make your products better with SOLIDWORKS Simulation!