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SW’s automatic meshing vs. ANSYS ICEM

Question asked by Andrew Castelino on Jun 28, 2014
Latest reply on Jul 2, 2014 by Jared Conway



I was wondering why some other larger simulation suites doesn’t adopt the almost automatic meshing procedure of Solidworks Flow Simulation?


For example the top part of the attached image is from and is typical of ANSYS ICEM, which I have seen lots of video tutorials and found really time-taking; in addition it is not automatic and relies on the user’s input for the initial mesh grid sizes.



Whereas the bottom image was from the blog post of CADVision (only partial of the image, please follow link to the original page) in which we see that after refining, the original rectilinear mesh grid acquires finer resolution near the body interfaces.


There are some comparisons:


I have heard many around saying that creating mesh takes about 50% of their simulation project time. With SW if we don’t check “manual gap size” then the size is determined automatically which makes the task like a breeze.  This is obviously very convenient and appeals to users both at amateur and professional level: but simply why ANSYS, Gambit and other software doesn’t take it? I tend to believe that they they do have made thorough and comprehensive considerations, and what is their rationale to not adopting this approach, after decades of developing CFD products?


Q1: ANSYS ICEM allows Tetra, hexa, prism and many sophisticated controls of the mesh, and its solver is also apparently math-intensive. It is quietly unlikely that the lack of automatic meshing (or perhaps I am incorrect with on this point since ANSYS also have Meshing program tightly integrated with the Workbench, but allows very limited operation, far less than that of ICEM; I don’t know if it is provided for automatic meshing) is due to their incapability in developing that. Then if they actually could, why they don’t implement that in like ANSYS?


The automatic (when “manual” deselected in Initial Gap in SW) meshing actually also has the additional advantage in preventing wrong user input in the most cases. If a project of sophisticated shape variation is all manually meshed by the user, there are quite some chance that at certain areas the meshing would be either inadequate or having other problems; with automatically meshing such cases are unlikely.


Q2: Also, the parametric study of SW allows changing geometry dimensions across simulations, and for each different dimension the new mesh is generated automatically. Can ANSYS achieve the same if it requires manual meshing, or it actually has a workaround to generate new meshes during parametric study?


Q3: In future releases is there any planned expansion of SW meshing controls, for example, including Tetra, Hexa instead of the current all-rectilinear design?