Sweep Your Meshes with Ease
Andrew Griesmer May 9, 2013
Swept meshing is a geometry discretization technique available in COMSOL Multiphysics for specific types of geometries, including thin geometries, geometries with bends, and models with little or no variation in a specific direction. A swept mesh starts at a source boundary and sweeps along to a specified destination boundary. In previous versions of COMSOL Multiphysics, the source and destination boundaries generally needed to be specified by the user. However, in the latest release, COMSOL Multiphysics version 4.3b, the swept mesh has become more automated, minimizing the number of source and destination boundaries manually defined.
Swept Meshing, and Its Advantage
Meshing is one of the bases of finite element analysis. Knowing which type to use in different situations is crucial for accurate and fast simulations. Swept meshes are especially useful for thin geometries, because other (tetrahedral and triangular) meshes create more elements than necessary to account for the skewed dimensions that exist within a thin geometry. The swept mesh creates hexahedral (default) or prismatic mesh elements, which can still effectively handle the disproportional dimension sizes, with far less elements.
Circuit board model with a swept mesh with 37,027 3D domain elements, automatically generated with
COMSOL Multiphysics 4.3b.
Circuit board model with a tetrahedral mesh with 56,966 3D domain elements: an example of
Temperature distribution and deformation of the circuit board.
The denser the mesh, the greater the simulation time, which is unnecessary if changes in the physical properties are minimal in well-meshed regions. In the figure above, the term “over-meshed” is used, as the top plate has an overabundance of elements, while not a lot is actually happening in large regions of this top plate. In addition to this, the tetrahedral mesh is too coarse in the two plates above the solder joints, where changes in the physical properties are more pronounced. Using the swept mesh will lead to results that are both accurate and swift. In this case, second-order elements are used for the thermal analysis which is a good compromise between accuracy and computational efficiency.
New Semi-Automatic Swept Meshing Functionality
With the release of COMSOL Multiphysics 4.3b, the swept mesh can also be created automatically in most cases, without the need to manually define source and destination surfaces for certain types of geometries, such as this one. Since this is all done in the COMSOL environment, you can use swept meshes for any type of simulation: structural, heat, CFD, acoustics, electromagnetics, chemical, and more. COMSOL always endeavors to produce the most powerful, easy-to-use software for our customers to achieve accurate simulation results, and we are certain that this new functionality shows that commitment.