Tips and Tricks for Creating a Better Mesh in SolidWorks
Here is a general list, in no particular order, of things you can do, use, and look for when creating a mesh. Feel free to add it to the techniques you already use to create your mesh. As of SolidWorks 2011, there is also a Mesh Advisor that can be used to help you mesh your components if there is a failure.
- Do a visual Inspection of the stress plot (model). Ask yourself: "Do my results look spotty?" If they do, refine the mesh.
- Look for two (2) Elements across the thickness of your parts. Three (3) elements are ideal, but feel free to use one (1) if the component being analyzed is not important or shows low stress values.
- Compare a Node Plot vs. an Element Plot. These two advanced options are found when you edit the definition of a plot. Compare the max von-mises stresses and if they are not close in value, refine the mesh. One may also just do a visual inspection on the Element Plot, once again looking for spotty results.
- Look for convergence in your results. Manually create a plot of Study/Mesh vs. Max Stress. If two subsequent stress values are less than 10% (or smaller if you want a tighter tolerance) then the solution has converged and no further mesh refinement is needed.
- Apply mesh control to areas where you think you'll see high stress. One might have to run an analysis to see where these high stress values occur. NOTE: If these high stress results occur in an area of "singularity" (sharp edge/corner), you have to either ignore the results, or apply a fillet/round/face even if it is very small.
- Right click the mesh icon and Check Mesh Details. If the Aspect Ratio gets very large, refine the mesh. Otherwise, you will have distorted elements that could give you bad results. The general rule of thumb is to create all elements with an Aspect Ratio below 3, and there should NEVER be any elements with an Aspect Ratio greater than 10.
- Create a Mesh Aspect Ratio Plot to look for these distorted elements. Right Click on the Mesh icon to be able to create this plot.
- If you are meshing an assembly, and one of the parts fails to mesh, open the part in its own window. Once you are able to mesh the part here, apply these mesh settings as Mesh Control in the assembly. Another, simpler method to the one just described is to apply mesh control to the failed component. In the Mesh Control property manager you will find an option called "Use Per Part Size."
- Use the Adaptive Meshing tools. These tools are found by right clicking the study name and selecting properties. Use the online Help to find out what each of the options is for.
- When all else fails, you can contact Fisher/Unitech support at (800) 816-8314 opt #5!