Use Femap's Meshing Toolbox to Extend and Inspect Meshes

9 May, 2012 By: Alastair Robertson

Femap Tips and Tricks: Learn how to merge surfaces that don't meet up, and locate problematic geometry entities.

Editor's Note: This tutorial courtesy of Siemens PLM.

Sometimes when working in Femap, you might be faced with a situation where your model contains surfaces that don’t quite meet or match up. How do you go about generating a contiguous mesh quickly, without having to mess around with the geometry too much? Femap’s Meshing Toolbox can play a role here.

For example, in the model below you can see that the two meshed surfaces don’t quite meet up, but we can use the Meshing Toolbox to extend one of them and ensure that a final contiguous mesh is created.

First of all, switch on the Meshing Toolbox by clicking the Meshing icon on the Panes toolbar, and select the Geometry Editing toolbox.

In the Geometry Editing toolbox select Extend for Operation, and Solid for Extend To. Then click the Solid Extend To icon and select the target solid — the lower of the two plates in this example. Ensure that Auto Remesh is on by selecting the pull-down menu next to the Remesh Tools icon.

Next, click the Select icon on the Meshing Toolbox and select the edge to extend — the lower edge of the upper plate, in this example.

In one action Femap extends the upper surface and the associated mesh and joins the surfaces together to form a continuous mesh across both of them.

Watch the video of this Femap tip on YouTube.

Element Visual Inspection

When Femap finishes meshing a model, a brief report of the mesh quality is written to the Messages pane. However, often it’s desirable to visually inspect the worst elements of the mesh, and review their shape and location in the model, an action which is not necessarily easy to do with a solid model.

However, in Femap’s interactive Meshing Toolbox there is a locator function, which can be used to locate problematic geometry entities (curves and surfaces), as well as elements.

To switch on the Locator, first activate the Meshing Toolbox by clicking the Meshing icon in the Panes toolbar, and click on the Toggle Entity Locator icon on the Meshing Toolbox. Select Elements as the Search For criteria and Quality as the Search Method, and you will see all of the elements that fail the selected quality type and value.

Here Femap displays the transparent model, with the elements that failed the quality criterion highlighted.

Zooming in allows you to get a good view of the failed elements. You can then decide, based on the element shape and its location in the model, whether or not it’s necessary to improve the mesh. If it is, then it’s easy to go back and use Femap’s Meshing toolbox to interactively change some of the meshing parameters in this area and improve the mesh.

Watch the video of this Femap tip on YouTube.

About the Author: Alastair Robertson

Alastair Robertson

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