Meshing complexity: Predicting meshing difficulty for single part CAD models

David R. White, Sunil Saigal, Steven J. Owen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


This paper proposes a method for predicting the complexity of meshing computer aided design (CAD) geometries with unstructured, hexahedral, finite elements. Meshing complexity refers to the relative level of effort required to generate a valid finite element mesh on a given CAD geometry. A function is proposed to approximate the meshing complexity for single part CAD models. The function is dependent on a user defined element size as well as on data extracted from the geometry and topology of the CAD part. Several geometry and topology measures are proposed, which both characterize the shape of the CAD part and detect configurations that complicate mesh generation. Based on a test suite of CAD models, the function is demonstrated to be accurate within a certain range of error. The solution proposed here is intended to provide managers and users of meshing software a method of predicting the difficulty in meshing a CAD model. This will enable them to make decisions about model simplification and analysis approaches prior to mesh generation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)76-90
Number of pages15
JournalEngineering with Computers
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 2005
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • General Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications


  • Blend detection
  • Geometry clean-up
  • Mesh complexity
  • Time to mesh


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