How to create an FE Volume Mesh


Learn how to create a Finite Element (FE) Mesh from an existing model.

Applies to:

  • Design Analysis
  • Topology Optimization


Creating an FE Mesh is one of the first steps in setting up a Simulation or a Topology Optimization. It prepares the mesh for analysis. The image below shows the basic steps for creating an FE Mesh. If you missed how to create a surface mesh or a solid mesh be sure to check those out for more information. 


1. Convert to Mesh: To create an FE Mesh, you need to take your starting geometry and convert it into a Surface Mesh (if it isn't already). Use either the Mesh from Cad Body block or Mesh from Implicit Body depending on your starting geometry. 


2. Remesh and Refine: Remeshing the surface mesh creates equally sized polygons in the mesh, allowing for an easier transition to a volume mesh. Do this by using the Remesh Mesh block. Further refinement may be necessary for complex models (check here for further meshing tips). 


3. Convert to a Solid Mesh: Convert the Surface mesh into a Solid Mesh by using Volume Mesh or Robust Tetrahedral Mesh. Volume Mesh is effective if the input domain is mostly error-free, and Robust Tetrahedral Mesh is exceptionally tolerant of complex geometry but takes longer to compute. It is best practice to keep the Edge Length the same for both the Surface Mesh and the 3D Mesh, so it is easier to form tetrahedrons. One way to ensure the Edge Length is the same is to turn it into a variable that is used in both the Remesh and Volume Mesh blocks (need to review how to create variables? Check here).

The image below shows a section cut Volume Mesh, where the Edge Length was the same value. 


4. Convert to an FE Mesh: Convert the Solid Mesh into a Finite Element Mesh by using FE Volume Mesh. This conversion adds integrations points within the mesh. The Linear option inserts nodes at the vertices of elements, while the Quadratic option inserts mid-side nodes along the straight edges of elements. We recommend using the Quadratic option if you are going to be using the Von Mises stress results because they are better at predicting stress values. Curved elements are not supported. 

Extra: FE Meshes can be exported out of the program. To do so, right-click on the FE Mesh block to Export as an INP, CDB, BDF, K, or UNV. Check here for more information on exporting FE data. 


And that’s it! You’ve successfully created an FE Mesh.

Are you still having issues? Contact the support team, and we’ll be happy to help!

Download the Example file:

More on this topic:


 Mesh FE analysis mesh simulation surface static volume create design topology convert remesh optimization refine tetrahedral 3D 
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