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General Meshing Guidelines and Accuracy

ANSYS Computational Mechanics, AAU, Esbjerg

**General Considerations in Meshing
**

• When choosing elements and creating meshes for FEA problems users must make sure that – Chosen mesh size and density are optimal for the problem (to save computational time) – Chosen element types are appropriate for the analysis type performed (for accuracy) – Element shapes do not result in near singular stiffness matrices – Chosen elements and meshes can represent force distributions properly

ANSYS Computational Mechanics, AAU, Esbjerg Meshing rules 2

loads and constraints about a line or plane of symmetry • When exploiting symmetry model needs to be modified to replace the line or plane of symmetry without affecting the results ANSYS Computational Mechanics. AAU.Symmetry • One of the most powerful means of reducing the size of a FEA problem is the exploitation of symmetry • Symmetry is said to exist if there is a complete symmetry of geometry. Esbjerg Meshing rules 3 .

Esbjerg Meshing rules 4 . AAU.Symmetry (cont’d) • An simple case of complete symmetry Constraints corresponding to lines of symmetry (LOS) do not allow displacements perpendicular to the LOS ANSYS Computational Mechanics.

AAU. Esbjerg Meshing rules 5 .Symmetry (cont’d) • Similarly ANSYS Computational Mechanics.

Symmetry (cont’d) • There is no symmetry in this case F ANSYS Computational Mechanics. AAU. Esbjerg Meshing rules 6 .

Esbjerg Meshing rules 7 . no rotational constraints on LOS (in-plane) • In 3D nodes on the plane of symmetry (POS) must be constrained to have zero displacements out of the POS. AAU.Symmetry Meshing Rules • Nodes must be placed on lines or planes of symmetry • In 2D nodes on lines of symmetry (LOS) must be constrained to have zero displacements perpendicular to LOS. no in-plane rotational constraints on POS ANSYS Computational Mechanics.

AAU. Esbjerg Meshing rules 8 .Antisymmetry • Sometimes the loading or boundary conditions may be such that antisymmetry exists ANSYS Computational Mechanics.

Esbjerg Meshing rules 9 . AAU.Antisymmetry (cont’d) • Consider the simple antisymmetry case below θz = 0 θz = 0 Constraints corresponding to lines of antisymmetry (LOAS) do not allow displacements along the LOAS or any rotational displacements ANSYS Computational Mechanics.

Antisymmetry Meshing Rules • Nodes must be placed on lines or planes of antisymmetry • In 2D nodes on lines of antisymmetry (LOAS) must be constrained to have zero translational and rotational displacements along (in-plane) LOAS • In 3D nodes on the plane of antisymmetry (POAS) must be constrained to have zero inplane translational and rotational displacements ANSYS Computational Mechanics. Esbjerg Meshing rules 10 . AAU.

Symmetry/Antisymmetry in ANSYS • ANSYS supports symmetry and antisymmetry constraint sets ANSYS Computational Mechanics. Esbjerg Meshing rules 11 . AAU.

Discontinuities • Nodes must always be placed at locations where geometry. AAU. or boundary conditions change abruptly (discontinuities) Concentrated load Abrupt change in load Abrupt change in geometry Abrupt change in support ANSYS Computational Mechanics. loads. Esbjerg Meshing rules 12 .

and boundary conditions Slender beam. Esbjerg Meshing rules 13 . geometry. quadrilateral plane stress or plane strain elements ANSYS Computational Mechanics. AAU. beam elements Thick beam (shear present).Correct Choice of Elements • Choose element types that are appropriate for the loading and stress conditions of the problem • Make sure that the elements chosen capture all possible significant stresses that may result from the given loading.

AAU. respectively ANSYS Computational Mechanics.Aspect Ratio • For a good mesh all elements must have a low aspect ratio • Specifically b h b ≤2−4 h • where b and h are the longest and the shortest sides of an element. Esbjerg Meshing rules 14 .

Esbjerg Meshing rules 15 . AAU.Element Shape • Angles between element sides must not approach 0° or 180° Worse Better ANSYS Computational Mechanics.

Esbjerg Meshing rules 16 .Mesh Refinement • Finer meshing must be used in regions of expected high stress gradients (usually occur at discontinuities) Discontinuities ANSYS Computational Mechanics. AAU.

Esbjerg Meshing rules 17 . lines. and volumes ANSYS Computational Mechanics. AAU.Mesh Refinement (cont’d) • Mesh refinement must be gradual with adjacent elements of not too dissimilar size • Mesh refinement must balance accuracy with problem size • ANSYS provides various tools for mesh refinement such as refinement at nodes. elements.

Dissimilar Element Types • In general different types of elements with different DOF at their nodes should not share global DOF (for example do not use a 3D beam element in conjunction with plane stress elements) • ANSYS allows certain classes of different element types to share nodes (e. spar and beam elements) but element and meshing guidelines must always be consulted before attempting to combine dissimilar element types ANSYS Computational Mechanics. Esbjerg Meshing rules 18 . AAU.g.

AAU. Esbjerg Meshing rules 19 . the displacements of shared nodes on two elements are the same in the global frame in which the elements are assembled ANSYS Computational Mechanics. i.e.Equilibrium and Compatibility • The approximations and discretizations generated by the FE method enforce some equilibrium and compatibility conditions but not others – Equilibrium of nodal forces and moments is always satisfied because of KU = F – Compatibility is guaranteed at the nodes because of the way K is formed.

Equilibrium-Compatibility (cont’d) – Equilibrium is usually not satisfied across interelement boundaries. however discrepancies decline with mesh refinement ( ( σ x1) ≠ σ x2 ) ( ( σ y1) ≠ σ y2 ) 1 2 (1 (2 τ xy) ≠ τ xy ) along this boundary Stresses at shared nodes are typically averaged over the elements sharing the node ANSYS Computational Mechanics. AAU. Esbjerg Meshing rules ANSYS uses stress disparities at nodes as a measure of discretization error 20 .

Equilibrium-Compatibility (cont’d) – Stresses are most reliable near the centers of elements and least reliable near their edges – Compatibility may not be satisfied across interelement boundaries (happens with certain types of higher-order elements and junctures of dissimilar elements). AAU. Esbjerg Meshing rules 21 . incompatibilities decline with mesh refinement Lower-order element Higher-order element gap ANSYS Computational Mechanics.

not the differential equations themselves – Compatibility is satisfied within elements (guaranteed by the choice of continuous and single valued displacement functions) ANSYS Computational Mechanics. AAU.Equilibrium-Compatibility (cont’d) – Equilibrium is usually not satisfied within elements because KU = F does not enforce the relations produced by the partial differential equations that define equilibrium at infinitesimal levels. the assumed displacement functions that led to KU = F only satisfy kinematic boundary conditions. Esbjerg Meshing rules 22 .

AAU. Esbjerg Meshing rules 23 .Example: Plate with Crack • Model the thin aluminum plate shown below using symmetry and refine mesh in regions where the discretization error is large 1 ′′ 2 2′′ 5′′ 10.000 psi 10′′ ANSYS Computational Mechanics.

AAU. Esbjerg Meshing rules 24 . using PLANE42 elements and applying symmetry boundary conditions we obtain the following stress ( σ x ) distribution in ANSYS ANSYS Computational Mechanics.Example (cont’d) • Modeling only the right half of the plate.

AAU.Example (cont’d) • To see the discretization error in ANSYS we plot the variable SDSG (from “Error Estimation” in “Element Solution”) ANSYS Computational Mechanics. Esbjerg Meshing rules 25 .

Esbjerg Meshing rules 26 .Example (cont’d) • Clearly (and as expected) the worst error occurs around the crack meaning that the elements in that region need to be modified • Contour plots of the same stress distribution and discretization error estimate are shown in the next page with a model that includes (Level 3) refined elements around the crack • The refined models exhibit smoother distribution of stress with lower error estimates ANSYS Computational Mechanics. AAU.

AAU. Esbjerg Meshing rules 27 .Example (cont’d) ANSYS Computational Mechanics.

AAU.Example (cont’d) ANSYS Computational Mechanics. Esbjerg Meshing rules 28 .

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