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Chapter 4

Volume Meshing

ICEM CFD Introductory


Course
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Volume Meshing

Introduction to volume meshing

Training Manual

To automatically create 3D elements to fill


volumetric domain
Generally termed unstructured
Mainly tetra

Full 3D analysis
Where 2D approximations dont tell the full
story

Internal/External flow simulation


Structural solid modeling
Thermal stress
Many more!

Standard procedures
Start from just geometry
Octree tetra
Robust
Walk over features
Cartesian
Fastest
Have to set sizes

Start from existing shell mesh


Delauney/T-grid
Quick
Advancing Front
Smoother gradients, size
transition
Hex Core

Both geometry and


shell mesh
Portions of model
already meshed

Inflation layers
Prism

Hex Dominant
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Volume Meshing

General Procedure

Training Manual

First decide volume mesh parameters

Load/create surface mesh

Global Mesh Setup > Volume Meshing


Parameters
Select Mesh Type
Select Mesh Method for selected Type
Set options for specific Methods

As in Shell Meshing
chapter
For Delauney, Advancing
Front, T-grid, HexDominant

Set mesh sizes

Either of these types run


from geometry will
automatically create
surface mesh using
global and local Shell
Mesh settings without
any user input/editing
If in doubt, run Shell
Mesh first, then from
existing mesh

Globally
As in Shell Meshing

Locally
Part/Surface/Curve Mesh Setup
As in Shell Meshing
For From geometry only
Octree
Cartesian

Define volumetric region

Compute Mesh

Typically for octree on complex models


Multiple volumes

Mesh > Compute Mesh >


Volume Mesh

Define density regions (optional)

Applying mesh size within volume Compute Prism (optional)


where geometry doesnt exist
As separate process
Also option to run
automatically following
tetra creation

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Volume Meshing

Body/Material Point

Training Manual

Define Volumetric Domain


Optional
Recommended for complex geometries
Multiple volumes
Geometry -> Create Body
Material Point
Centroid of 2 points
Select any two locations whose mid-point is within volume
Preferred

At specified point
Define volume region by point within volume

By Topology
Defines volume region by set of closed surfaces
Must first Build Diagnostic Topology
Entire model
Automatically define all volumes

Selected surfaces
User selects surfaces that form a closed volume
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Volume Meshing

Mesh Types

Training Manual

Tetra/mixed
Most used
Tetra
With hex core

Pure tetra

Hexa (cartesian) filling majority


volume
Tetra (from delauney algorithm) used
to fill between surface or top of
inflation layers and hex core
Pyramids to make conformal between
tetra tri and hex quad faces

Tetra/Prism

With inflation layers

Prisms from tri surface mesh


Hexas from quad surface mesh
Tetra and/or hex core filling interior
Pyramids to cap off any quad faces
Of hex core or hex inflation layers

Tetra/Prism/Hexcore

Merged hybrid with structured hex


mesh
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Volume Meshing

Mesh Types

Training Manual

Hexa-Dominant
From existing quad mesh
Good quality hex near surface
Somewhat poor in interior
Typically good enough for
static displacement
Not covered in detail here

Cartesian
Automatic pure hexa
Rectilinear mesh
Staircase or
Body fitted
Fastest method for creating
volume mesh
Not covered in detail here
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Volume Meshing

Mesh Method

Training Manual

Tetra/Mixed
Robust (Octree)
Same as Shell Meshing > Patch Independent
Retains volumetric tetras
If you have complex and/or dirty geometry
Dont want to spend too much time with geometry
cleanup
Dont want to spend too much time with detailed
shell meshing
Dont want to spend time defeaturing geometry
Just set appropriate mesh sizes on geometry
Parts
Surfaces
Curves
Review Shell Meshing chapter
Part/Surface/Curve Mesh Setup

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Volume Meshing

Octree Method

Training Manual

ICEM Tetra uses patch-independent Octree method

Volume first generated independent of surface model

Nodes are projected to model surfaces, curves and points

Surface mesh is created

Resulting mesh is independent of the underlying


arrangement of surfaces

Not all surface edges need to be captured!

Make curves/points dormant

Delete

Filter points/curves under Build Diagnostic Topology

Mesh detail

Sliver ignored
Geometry

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Mesh

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Volume Meshing

Geometry Requirements for Octree Tetra

Training Manual

Tetra requires an enclosed


surface model
Run Build Diagnostic Topology
to find gaps/holes
Octree can tolerate gaps
smaller then the local element
size

Geometry Repair
tools quickly locate
and fix these
problems.

Recommend points and curves


at key features
Recommend Material points to
define volumes
Will create a material point if
none exists

Set Global, Part, Surface, Curve


Size Parameters

Missing inlet surface

As in Shell Meshing
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Hole highlighted by yellow


single edge curve
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Volume Meshing

Using Points and Curves

Training Manual

Curves and points included


Mesh size specified on curves
and surfaces
Mesh captures detail

Coarse mesh walks over detail


in surface model

Curves and points not included


Mesh size specified only on surfaces
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Curves and points


affect which
features are
captured by the
mesh!
Build Topology
easily creates the
necessary points
and curves
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Volume Meshing

Octree - Options

Training Manual

Setup options:
Global Mesh Setup > Volume Meshing parameters
Run as batch process
Runs as a separate process. GUI will stay interactive.

Fast Transition
Allows for a faster transition in element size from finer to coarser
Reduce element count

Edge Criterion
Split elements at a factor greater than set value to better capture
geometry

Define Thin cuts


Tool for resolving thin gaps, sharp angles
User selects pairs of opposing parts
Resolve elements jumping from one side to another

Smooth
Automatically smooths after grid generation process

Coarsen
Fix Non-manifold
Automatically tries to fix elements that jump from surface to another

For a more detailed description go to Help > Help Topics > Help
Manual > Mesh > Global Mesh Setup > Volume Meshing
Parameters > Tetra/Mixed > Robust (Octree)

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Volume Meshing

Octree -Options

Training Manual

Run options: Compute Mesh > Volume Meshing


Parameters
Create Prism Layers

Will create prisms marked under Part Mesh Setup


Immediately after tetra calculation
Prism layers grown into existing tetra mesh

Create Hexa-Core

Will retain tri surface mesh (or tri-prism), throw away


tetra mesh
Fill volume interior with cartesian
Cap off with pyramids
Map tetra to tri or top prism face with delauney algorithm

Input

Select Geometry
All, Visible
Part by Part
Meshes each part separately
Mesh not conformal between parts
From file
Select tetin file

Use Existing Mesh Parts

Select Parts that are already surface meshed


Uses Make Consistent to match octree volume mesh to
existing surface mesh

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Volume Meshing

Curvature/Proximity Based Refinement

Training Manual

Curvature/Proximity Based Refinement


Octree only
Automatically subdivides to create elements that are smaller
than the prescribed entity size in order to capture finer
features
Min size limit value entered is multiplied by the global Scale
Factor and is a lower limit for the automatic subdivision
Used primarily to avoid setting up meshing parameters
specifically for individual entities thus allowing the
geometry to determine the mesh size
Min Size Limit: multiplied by
Scale Factor = global minimum
Prescribed element size: Surface/Curve Max. Element
Size times Scale Factor
Prescribed size
is adequate here

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Auto subdivision
at tighter radius
of curvature

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Volume Meshing

Curve Based Refinement

Training Manual

Refinement
Number of elements along
curvature if extrapolated
to 360o
To avoid subdivision
always to global minimum
which would otherwise
result in too many
elements
Subdivision will stop
once number of
elements along curve
is reached
Wont exceed global
minimum set by natural
size value

Prescribed size

Min size limit

Refinement = 12

Example
Specified refinement
achieved with larger
elements
Global minimum (Size) not
realized, not necessary to
capture curvature
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Volume Meshing

Proximity Refinement, Elements in Gap

Training Manual

Elements in Gap
Number of cells desired in
narrow gaps
To avoid subdivision
always to global minimum
which would otherwise
result in too many elements
Subdivision will stop
once number of cells
in gap is reached
Will not override global
minimum (Min size limit)

Prescribed size

Min size limit

Cells in Gap = 5

Prescribed size

Example

Min size limit (1/5th smaller)

Only one element in gap


Cant go smaller than Min
size limit
Have to set smaller Min size
limit
Cells in Gap = 5

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Volume Meshing

Mesh Methods

Training Manual

Tetra/Mixed

Setup Options:
Memory scaling factor

Quick (Delauney)

To allocate more memory


Usually does so automatically

If already have
good quality
surface mesh
From Shell
Mesh
From Octree
From imported
surface mesh
Uses initial point
cloud; distributed
so that the
centroid of any
tetra is outside
circumsphere of
any neighboring
tetra

Expansion factor
Growth ratio from surface

Fill holes in volume mesh


Use to fills holes/voids in
existing volume mesh
e.g. if bad quality region is
deleted

Mesh all domains


For multiple sets of closed
volumes in one model
Usually

Flood fill after complete

For multiple volumes


Will assign tetras within closed
volume to Part designated by
Body or Material Point

Verbose output
For troubleshooting
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Volume Meshing

Mesh Methods

Training Manual

Tetra/Mixed
Smooth (Advancing Front)
Same as Quick (Delauney) but
Uses advancing front method that marches tetras
from surface into interior
Algorithm from GE/CFX
Results in more gradual change in element size
Better but finer mesh
Inut surface mesh has to be of fairly high quality
Setup Options: Do Proximity Checking
Check to properly fill small gaps
Longer run time

Tgrid

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Volume grid generation algorithm from Fluent


Uses somewhat different delauney approach
Gradual transition near surface
Faster transition toward interior
Setup Options: Use Background Mesh

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Volume Meshing

Mesh Methods

Training Manual

Run Options:
Same for Delauney, Advancing Front, TGrid
Create Prism Layers/Hexa-Core
Same as for Octree
Hexa-Core not available for Advancing Front, TGrid

Input
All Geometry
Will run shell mesh first with no user input/editing
Using parameters from Shell/Part/Surface/Curve
Mesh Setup
Review Shell Meshing chapter
If doubtful as to shell mesh quality, run Shell Mesh
first, then use Existing Mesh
Existing Mesh
Part by Part/From File
Same as for Octree

Volume Part Name


For newly created tetras

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Volume Meshing

Comparison

Octree

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Training Manual

Delauney

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Adv.front

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Volume Meshing

Set Mesh Sizes

Training Manual

Create Mesh Density


Define volumetric region with certain mesh
size where no geometry exists, e.g. wake
region behind a wing
Not actual geometry!
Mesh nodes not constrained to density object
Can intersect geometry

Can create densities within densities


Always subdivides to smallest set size

Set Size
As for surface/curve multiplied by global Scale
Factor
Ratio expansion ratio away from density object
Width Number of layers from object

Type
Points Select any number of points
Size and Width (number of layers) will detemine thickness of
volume if number of points selected is 1-3
4-8 creates polyhedral volume

Entity bounds define region by bounding box


of selected entities
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Volume Meshing

Periodicity

Training Manual

Define Periodicity

Forces mesh alignment across periodic sides


For meshing and solving only one section of
symmetrically repeatable geometry
Rotational Periodic
Enter Base, Axis, and Angle

Translational Periodic
Enter dX, dY, dZ offset

Tip: Place
material point
close to midplane

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Volume Meshing

Workshops

Training Manual

Workshop 1 Engine Block Model

Build diagnostic topology


Octree mesh
Smooth mesh
Curvature/proximity refinement
Delaunay mesh

Workshop 2 Valve Model

Build diagnostic topology


Create parts, Create body
Set sizes Global, Surface, Curves, density
Octree mesh

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Volume Meshing

Workshops

Training Manual

Workshop 3

Import Design Modeler file into ICEM


Create Parts from Subsets
Global, Part mesh set up
Using ANSYS ICEM CFD Hexa to create a Cartesian initial grid with biasing
Computing the mesh
Viewing cut-planes

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