SolidWorks Simulation Quick Tip - Incremental Meshing

Introduced in 2013 for the Simulation Add-in, Incremental Meshing is available for both solid and shell bodies and gives you more flexibility in refining meshes of individual bodies or parts inside a large assembly.  It also allows you to quickly mesh parts that have failed to mesh in a multi-body part or assembly while keeping the existing mesh for the other components intact.  This can help cut down mesh troubleshooting time significantly by reducing the effort required to troubleshoot mesh failures, as well as cut down on the actual time required to mesh since only the selected failed bodies or parts are meshed.

For parts or bodies that have no mesh, right-click the selected bodies and select Create Mesh.  This will take you to the Mesh Control Property Manager, where you can apply a smaller element size to the pre-selected bodies.  Once you set the element size, you can click “Create Mesh” inside the PropertyManager to mesh just the selected bodies.  If you click the "Green Checkmark" instead of “Create Mesh” in the Mesh Control Property Manager, it will just apply mesh control to the selected body without actually creating a mesh. 

Right_Click to access Mesh Control.png

For bodies that have already been meshed, right-click the selected bodies and select” Remesh.”  The new mesh control settings will override the existing mesh. 

Remesh Parts that have already been meshed.png

Bodies that have a mesh applied are shown with a green mesh icon, while bodies that fail to mesh are flagged with a red mesh icon in the Simulation study tree. 

Parts that mesh and fail to mesh.png

As noted above, only the bodies selected in the Mesh Control Property Manager will be meshed.  When creating a mesh for failed parts, only the selected failed bodies will be meshed, excluding the rest of the assembly. Here are a few important things to note about Incremental Meshing:

  • The selected bodies will be meshed with a Curvature-based mesh and will use a Curvature-based mesh even if the selected body was initially meshed with a Standard mesh
  • Incremental Meshing is not available for Beam elements or during 2D Simplification
  • The incrementally meshed body will have an Independent mesh (non-touching nodes, incompatible mesh) with adjacent components

For example, when applying Incremental Meshing to a part in an assembly with a Global Bonded Interaction using the option "Enforce Common Nodes at Touching Boundaries", it will create Bonded Interactions with touching Common Mesh Nodes (previously known as Compatible Mesh) between the faces of the assembly and the incrementally meshed part. Users will see the popup dialog below during Incremental Meshing when clicking “Create Mesh” from the Mesh Control Property Manager. 

Incremental Meshing Popup - Common Nodes.png 

Now, since the incrementally meshed parts will have an Independent mesh (non-touching nodes) between other components, it may take a little longer to run the analysis compared to a study that uses a Bonded Interaction with "Enforce Common Nodes" mesh exclusively.  However, we've spent significantly less time troubleshooting mesh failures in the meshing phase of our study, so a few extra minutes to solve is an acceptable compromise.  We will now at least be able to view some results and get a better idea of where we could use further mesh refinement without spending too much time on our initial mesh of the multi-body part or assembly.

If you would like to learn more about meshing head over to our YouTube channel to check out our Simulation Videos.

For further assistance, please contact our HawkSupport team at 877-266-4469(US) or 866-587-6803(Canada) and

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