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SOLIDWORKS TECH TIP: Meshing Tips and Tools for Better Results (Part 1)

Part 2 - Part 2 - Part 3

Since I am always being asked "what makes a good mesh?" I decided once again to blog about a list I put together a while ago. This was a general list, in no particular order, of things you can do, things you can use, and things you can look for, in creating a mesh.  And knowing you have a good mesh, you can feel better about the results you are getting. This is part 1 in the series, and will discuss spotty results and number of elements.

Spotty Results

The first thing you can do, and definitely the easiest, is to do a visual inspection of the results and ask yourself “Do they look spotty?” In the simple L-Bracket below, you can see how inconsistent the results are in the area of the fillet where we are seeing our high stresses. This erratic behavior across the length of the fillet is a good indication that your mesh is too coarse. Simply refine (make your mesh smaller) and rerun.

Below, you will see the same L-Bracket with a better mesh showing more uniform results across the length of the fillet.
With just this simple observation and change, we can feel a little better about the accuracy of our results.  Notice here how the results increase from 101 MPa to 103 MPa.
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Number of Elements
For your thinner parts, another thing you can look for - even before you run the analysis - is to see if you have a good number of elements across the thickness of your parts. Take a look at the simple plate with a hole below. As you look closely at the area of the hole, where we can expect to see some high stresses, we only have one layer of elements.  Generally we would like to see two (2) elements across the thickness.  Three (3) elements would be ideal; however, feel free to use one (1) if a particular component/feature is not of importance, or shows very little stress values.
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One way to assure you have at least two (2) elements across the thickness of your parts is simply to measure that thickness and divide by 2 (or 3 if you are trying to get at least three elements). Notice the same plate below with a much better mesh.
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