Is This a Good FEA Mesh? Here’s How to Answer Yes, No, and All-You-Need-to-Know About Meshing Infographic

Meshing a model is an integral step in performing any simulation. There’s no getting around it – it has to be done. Thanks to many improvements over the years, meshing  has transformed from a very tedious, manual process into a quick and easy automated one. Even though SOLIDWORKS Simulation has countless tools and techniques to make meshing as easy as possible, a level of confidence in the resulting mesh can be lacking in even the most advanced users. Is it a good mesh? It’s a simple question with a yes or no answer, and yet we all sometimes have difficulty answering it with confidence. Here’s how to know if you have a good mesh or not.

The answer lies in the “details.” Right click on mesh in the Simulation Tree and click  details. From here you will see a lot of information about your mesh that can help you make informed decisions about your simulation. Specifically, you will be able to qualify whether or not  the mesh is in fact good. For this, look at these particular quantities all pertaining to the aspect ratio: 

  • Maximum Aspect Ratio

  • Percentage of  elements with Aspect Ratio < 3

  • Percentage of elements with  Aspect Ratio > 10

 

 

 

The Aspect Ratio quantifies the quality of the elements, where 1 is a perfectly  shaped tetrahedral element and the element shape is worse with a higher Aspect Ratio. You can  see this in the image to the left. The aspect ratio is defined as the ratio of the shortest length of the element to the longest length of the element.

 

Since a mesh is nothing more than an approximation of your geometry broken down in to tiny pieces, it is reasonable to have some not exactly perfect elements in your model.  In other words, a good mesh won’t be made up entirely of perfectly shaped elements. A  good mesh will, however, have nearly all of its elements with a small aspect ratio or a value less than 3. Although this won’t always be possible especially with larger more complicated models. So keep in mind when doing any subsequent levels of mesh refinement it might not be worth the time investment to improve just a  handful of elements out of the thousands in the entire model.

If you want to be able to quickly determine if you  have a good mesh, here’s what you need to know:


Also  for a quick reference guide to meshing, check out the the meshing infographic below.

Is This a Good FEA Mesh? Here's How to Answer Yes, No, and All-You-Need-to-Know About Meshing in SOLIDWORKS - Infographic.

Stephen Petrock
Since 1998, TriMech has helped our clients design better products by partnering with them and offering, not only CAD, CAE, PDM, FEA, CAM software products, but also by engineering solutions involving full-time and temporary staffing, contract design, analysis and drafting services, rapid prototyping, custom programming and implementation services. TriMech is a value-added reseller of SOLIDWORKS and Stratasys 3D Printers in the Mid-Atlantic and South-East including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.
Stephen Petrock
  • Sam S.

    The aspect ratio is more technically defined as the length of the longest normal of the element divided by the length of the shortest normal in the element. it isn’t based on the edge length of the element.

  • Thanks for sharing.

  • Leon

    That’s really nice looking and well communicated but too inaccurate. More warning is required for draft elements – I would never use them for drop or non-linear! the mesh density section should more explicitly mention the risk of a non-converged mesh – hard to do without getting into too much detail I know