SOLIDWORKS: Making Sense of Simulation Meshing- Part 3


Making Sense of SOLIDWORKS Simulation Meshing- Part 3

Welcome to part 3 of my 3-part series about meshing in SOLIDWORKS Simulation FEA tool. In Simulation Meshing Part One, we covered some high-level considerations of meshing. In Simulation Meshing Part Two, we talked about tools for querying the quality of your FEA mesh. In part three, we will talk about the different meshing algorithms that SOLIDWORKS Simulation has to offer.

Below is a screenshot of the meshing property manager inside of SOLIDWORKS Simulation.

At first glance, it can be seen that there are 3 types of meshing algorithms, or meshers as I will be referring to them here on out. These meshers are: Standard Mesh, Curvature-based mesh, and Blended curvature-based mesh. Through this blog we will discuss each of these individually.

  • Standard Mesh: The standard mesh activates the Voroni-Delaunay meshing scheme. This is a relatively old method of discretizing a mesh, but has proven effective over the years. It is a good place to start with most studies. It allows you to choose a global size, and a tolerance around that size. See the options for standard mesh below:

    • The automatic transition option allows the mesher to automatically apply mesh controls to small features, fillets, holes, etc.
    • Automatic trials for solid allows the standard mesher to re-mesh automatically using a smaller global element size. The ratio of the reduction in element size is 0.8.
    • Advantages: Standard mesh is a great place to start. It typically does very well on solid parts and assemblies and utilizes multi-threaded volume meshing.
    • Disadvantages: There is little control with the standard mesh. Also, it can run into issues when dealing with very large assemblies, and part with very small features. It does not have multi-threaded surface meshing capabilities, so a large shell mesh may take longer.
  • Curvature Based Mesh: The curvature based mesh is a bit more robust than the standard mesh in a lot of ways. The purpose of creating this mesher was to allow easier capture of curves and small features in an FEA model. SOLDIWORKS Simulation uses this mesher to create more elements in higher-curvature areas automatically. No need for mesh controls, or an automatic transition option. See options for curvature based mesh below:

    • Curvature based mesh is better for more curved or organic shapes, but can also handle more prismatic shapes with ease. You are able to control maximum and minimum element sizes, but also how large adjacent elements can be to each other. Lastly, the number of elements in a circle can be really handy for those pesky tiny through holes.
    • Advantages: The curvature-based mesher is a very good go-to for any study. It offers a lot more degrees of control for element sizing, and has full multi-core surface and volume meshing capabilities.
    • Disadvantages: With great power comes great responsibility. The amount of options in the curve based mesher can make meshes fail if you choose inappropriate mesh sizes for the model you are analyzing.
  • Blended Curvature Based Mesh: This mesher is perhaps the most robust in terms of meshing complex geometry. Typically this mesher is used on models that failed to mesh using the curvature based mesh. The options are nearly identical to that of the curvature based mesh, but the blended mesher allows for the software to automatically calculate the minimum element size needed (the most common cause of curve based mesh failure). It either uses the values from minimum radius of curvature of the geometry, or minimum element value from a previously defined mesh control to determine the new minimum element size. When both are selected it will choose the lesser of the two.

  • Advantages: This mesher can sometimes do what the others cannot. Its robust algorithm combined with an automatically calculated minimum element size make it quite capable.
  • Disadvantages: Unfortunately, this mesher can only operate on a single CPU. This will make the meshing process MUCH slower.

The online SOLIDWORKS help files can provide much more in-depth information on meshing than this blog can. Find the link below:

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my three part series on FEA meshing in SOLIDWORKS Simulation. Please take some time to read some of our other great blogs! If you missed part one or part two of this series, please check out the links below:

Making Sense of Simulation Meshing – Part 1

Making Sense of Simulation Meshing – Part 2

Thank You,

Matt Sherak
Simulation Application Engineer
Computer Aided Technology