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How to Mesh an FEA Model

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Finite Element Analysis Meshing          Finite Element Analysis meshing is a tool that is used to simulate a real world engineering design. It consists of overlaying a mesh consisting of small elements connected together at points called nodes. The mesh is used to transfer equations of stress, strain, deformation, heat, etc. throughout the model so that a complete analysis can be performed. There are different types of element shapes and number of nodes each with their own strong suites. Follow these steps to mesh an FEA model accurately.





Step 1

The first step to making a mesh model is to build the geometry of the model in a 3D cad program. In order to make the model easier to mesh you may want to eliminate extremely small radii in your solid model. The FEA mesher will have a hard time meshing extremely small geometries that make abrupt angle changes within a short length.

Step 2

Import your model into the finite element analysis program. Once it is imported open your FEA program’s mesher tool.



Step 3

Select the entire model for meshing. If you want to mesh different parts of your model at different densities then select the pieces individually and mesh them. The rule of thumb is to use a denser mesh only in areas where you are more interested in getting accurate results such as weak points in the design or areas where stresses concentrate such as bolt locations, or thin areas. Choose the type of elements you want to mesh with. They can be tetrahedral, quadrilateral, hexagonal, or more depending on the choices available to your finite element analysis software program.


Step 4

Refine dense FEA meshAfter you have meshed your entire model look back at the areas of the model and determine if you want to make the mesh denser. You can select the mesh and refine it by increasing its density. Usually you will be able to either individually select mesh elements or drag a box over the area you want to modify.




Step 5

After you have refined your mesh run some mesh diagnostics to find errors in the mesh or areas that might give your solver a hard time. The mesh diagnostics can alert you to areas where the aspect ratios of the elements are too high and need to be corrected. It can also alert you to duplicate nodes which will throw off your analysis or cause the computer to freeze while you are solving your model.



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