ANSYS Meshing Features

The meshing tools in the ANSYS Workbench platform were designed with the following guiding principles:

  1. Parametric: Parameters drive the system.
  2. Persistent: Model updates are passed through the system.
  3. Highly-automated: Baseline simulation can be performed with limited input.
  4. Flexible: Ability to add additional control without complicating the workflow
  5. Physics aware: Key off of physics to automate modeling and simulation throughout system
  6. Adaptive architecture: Open system that can be tied to a specific process: CAD neutral, meshing neutral, solver neutral, etc.

By integrating best-in-class meshing technology into a simulation-driven workflow, ANSYS Meshing provides a next-generation meshing solution.

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Meshing Methods: Hexahedral Meshing Methods: Hexahedral

ANSYS Meshing technology provides multiple methods to generate a pure hex or hex-dominant mesh. Depending on the model complexity, desired mesh quality and type, and the time available to perform meshing, ANSYS Meshing provides a scalable solution. Quick automatic hex or hex-dominant mesh can be generated, or a highly controlled hex mesh for optimal solution efficiency and accuracy.

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Hex mesh of brake assembly using combination of hex meshing methods including sweep, thin sweep, MultiZone and hex-dominant

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Automated hex meshing using MultiZone mesh method that automatically decomposes geometry to create all-hex or hex-dominant mesh

Mesh Methods

  • Cut cell Cartesian meshing
    • This mesh method generates a high percentage of hexahedral cells in a Cartesian layout in the far field, to deliver accurate fluid flow results.
    • Local to the surface, mixed element types are used that allow the mesh to conform to sharp features.
    • The surface cells can be inflated to generate hexahedral and prismatic layers to capture near-wall physics effects.
    • Rapid mesh generation of hexahedral cells with minimal user setup make this mesh method ideal for complex geometry for computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulation.
  • Automated sweep meshing
    • Sweepable bodies are automatically detected and meshed with hex mesh when possible..
    • Edge increment assignment and side matching/mapping are done automatically.
    • Sweep paths are found automatically for all regions/bodies in a multibody part.
    • Defined inflation is swept through connected swept bodies.
    • Sizing controls and mapped controls can be added, and source faces selected to modify and take control of the automated sweeping.
    • Adding/modifying geometry slices/decomposition to the model greatly aids in the automation to obtain a pure hex mesh.
  • Thin solid sweep meshing
    • This mesh method quickly generates a hex mesh for thin solid parts that have multiple faces as source and target.
    • This method can be used in conjunction with other mesh methods.
    • Sizing controls and mapped controls can be added, and source faces selected to modify and take control of the automated sweeping.
  • MultiZone sweep meshing
    • This advanced sweeping approach uses automated topology decomposition behind the scenes to attempt to automatically create a pure hex or mostly hex mesh on complicated geometries.
    • Decomposed topology is meshed with a mapped mesh or a swept mesh if possible. The option to allow for free mesh in sub-topologies that can’t be mapped or swept is available.
    • This method supports multiple source/target selection.
    • Defined inflation is swept through connected swept bodies.
    • Sizing controls and mapped controls can be added, and source faces selected to modify and take control of the automated sweeping.
  • Hex-dominant meshing
    • This mesh method uses an unstructured meshing approach to generate a quad-dominant surface mesh and then fill it with a hex-dominant mesh.
    • This approach generally gives nice hex elements on the boundary of a chunky part with a hybrid hex, prism, pyramid, tet-mesh used internally.

Meshing Methods: Tetrahedral Meshing Methods: Tetrahedral

The combination of robust and automated surface, inflation and tet meshing using default physics controls to ensure a high-quality mesh suitable for the defined simulation allows for push-button meshing. Local control for sizing, matching, mapping, virtual topology, pinch and other controls provides additional flexibility, if needed.

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Automated CFD meshing includes inflation layers for complicated geometries, such as this drill bit model.

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Automated structural meshing with well-shaped quadratic tet elements can be used for complicated geometries, such as this engine head.

Mesh Methods:

  • Patch-conforming mesh method:
    • This method uses a bottom-up approach (creates surface mesh then volume mesh).
    • Multiple triangular surface meshing algorithms are employed behind the scenes to ensure a high quality surface mesh is generated the first time.
    • From the surface mesh, inflation layers can be grown using several techniques.
    • The remaining volume is meshed with a Delaunay advancing front approach that combines the speed of a Delaunay approach with the smooth-transitioned mesh of an advancing front approach.
    • Throughout this meshing process are advanced size functions that maintain control over the refinement, smoothness and quality of the mesh.
  • Patch-independent mesh method:
    • This method uses a top-down approach (creates volume mesh and extracts surface mesh from boundaries).
    • Many common problems with meshing occur from bad geometry. If bad geometry is used as the basis to create the surface mesh, the mesh will often be undesireable (bad quality, connectivity, etc.).
    • The patch-independent method uses the geometry only to associate the boundary faces of the mesh to the regions of interest thereby ignoring gaps, overlaps and other issues that present other meshing tools with countless problems.
    • Inflation is done as a post step into the volume mesh. Since the volume mesh already exists, collisions and other common problems for inflation are known beforehand.

Note: For volume meshing, a tetrahedral mesh generally provides a more automatic solution with the ability to add mesh controls to improve the accuracy in critical regions. Conversely, a hexahedral mesh generally provides a more accurate solution but is more difficult to generate.

Meshing Methods: Shell and Beam Meshing Methods: Shell and Beam

For 2-D planar (axisymmetric), shell and beam models, ANSYS Meshing provides efficient tools to quickly generate a high-quality mesh to accurately simplify the physics.

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2-D planar model with inflation layers defined at model boundary

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Beam model of electrical tower

Mesh Methods for shell models:

  • Default surface meshing
    • Multiple surface meshing engines are used behind the scenes to provide a robust, automated surface mesh consisting of all quad, quad dominant or all tri surface mesh.
    • Sizing controls and mapped controls can be added, and source faces selected to modify and take control of the automated sweeping.
  • Uniform surface meshing
    • This method provides an orthogonal, uniform meshing algorithm that attempts to force an all quad or quad-dominant surface mesh that ignores small features to provide optimum control over the edge length.

Meshing Controls: Advanced Size Functions Meshing Controls: Advanced Size Functions

ANSYS Meshing provides two types of size functions to provide appropriate mesh sizing for different physics. The default size function for structural mechanics applications is designed to accurately capture the geometry while minimizing the number of elements in the model. The advanced size function is the default for fluids applications and is designed to accurately capture the geometry while maintaining a smooth growth rate between the regions of curvature and/or proximity.


Mesh using standard size function


Mesh using advanced size function

Meshing Controls: Flexible Sizing Controls Meshing Controls: Flexible Sizing Controls

ANSYS Meshing automatically sets default mesh size controls on the geometry. To obtain more control over certain areas of the model global, body, face, edge or vertex sizing controls can be inserted.

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Using body, face, edge or vertex controls, mesh sizing can be controlled locally.

In addition, a sphere of influence and/or a body of influence can be used to further control the mesh sizing.

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Using a body as body of influence will employ selected body to control mesh spacing without mesh being generated for that body.

Meshing Controls: Match Mesh Controls Meshing Controls: Match Mesh Controls

Periodic models will be automatically meshed with matched mesh at the periodic faces. Match controls can be inserted to define which faces should be matched.


Using arbitrary match mesh control, two similar topology faces can be matched using coordinate systems to define orientation.

Meshing Controls: Mapped Mesh Controls Meshing Controls: Mapped Mesh Controls

ANSYS Meshing technology allows specification of which face(s) onto which a mapped mesh can be forced. Options on how the face should be sub-mapped can be specified if the face is more than four-sided. Faces marked with a mapped mesh control that cannot be mapped will be meshed with a free mesh and the software will notify the user. All faces to be mapped meshed can be conveniently marked to try to force more orthogonal meshing. For solid parts being meshed with a tet mesh, the quads will be split into triangles.

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Mapped mesh controls have advanced options to control how face is sub-mapped or broken into multiple mapped regions. Using side, corner or end controls, mesher can be forced to sub-map face as desired.

Meshing Controls: Geometry- and Mesh-Based Defeaturing Meshing Controls: Geometry- and Mesh-Based Defeaturing

ANSYS Meshing allows for geometry- and mesh-based defeaturing in a variety of ways. In patch-independent and MultiZone meshing defeaturing is integrated into the meshing process and driven by a tolerance. Virtual topologies are used to merge faces and edges prior to meshing so that the mesher ignores the individual faces and edges. Pinch controls are used to merge mesh nodes in close proximity after meshing using a given tolerance. Each of these approaches has some unique strengths.


Virtual topologies can be created manually or automatically to perform geometry-based defeaturing.


Pinch controls can be created manually or automatically to perform mesh-based defeaturing