Regardless of whether you’re at the beginning of your Finite Element Modelling journey or have more extensive experience in the field, you probably know that meshing is one of the hottest topics.
There are many questions associated with mesh, such as mesh size and mesh convergence, but very often the first question that comes to mind is, “When should I use shell elements and when should I use solid elements?
Even though our computers and software are 10x more powerful than a decade ago, it’s still a dream to have a tool that would automatically generate mesh, removing the headache of 3D model preparation and simplification.
For many people it seems much easier to mesh a solid body with solid elements. However, meshing thin-walled bodies like sheet metal parts with solid elements isn’t always a good idea.
Let me show you when to use solid elements and when to use shell elements
When dealing with FEA there are always two important factors to consider: accuracy and time.
As we all know, accuracy is incredibly important in engineering practice, particularly when it comes to stress analysis. At the same time, engineering labour is expensive and tough deadlines push us to finish the analysis quickly.
Throughout the following test models, I will demonstrate shell and solid elements from the two opposing positions of accuracy and time.
I will detail a comparison of the results for the following six test models: