Simpleware FE Module

Meshing Software Module for FEA & CFD

Simpleware FE enables robust image-based meshing, providing a high quality solution for converting segmented 3D image data into multi-part volume meshes for export to Finite Element (FE) and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) packages.

Generate meshes with conforming interfaces and shared nodes, assign material properties, define contacts, node sets and shell elements, and define boundary conditions for CFD. Speed up your workflow by removing the need for re-meshing in other software.

New in Version 2016.09

Read the ►2016.09 Release Blog and watch the ►2016.09 Release Highlights Webinar

Meshing Enhancements
  • Support for meshing of Surface objects from CAD/STL imports
  • Models can support any combination of Mask and Surface objects
  • Improved mesh settings layout featuring per-part mesh settings
  • Faster processing and lower memory usage than previous versions
Inlet/Outlet Generation for CFD
  • One click to automatically generate and position clipping planes
  • Interactive repositioning of planes along centrelines
  • Planes remain perpendicular to flow direction
  • Inlet and outlet faces available for selection in CFD pre-processor


  • Automated, robust and fast
    Segmented image to analysis ready model in minutes
  • Complex mesh generated and solved on ‘off the shelf’ PC
    Complex models attainable without high powered computing
  • Topological/morphological accuracy contingent only on image quality
    Image accuracy maintained during segmentation and smoothing
  • Conforming mesh domains for FE and CFD, ideal for FSI analysis
    Robust multi-part models without gaps or overlaps

Key features

  • Mesh generation from data sets of arbitrary geometric complexity
  • User selection between grid based and free meshing approach
  • Material properties assigned to mesh based on signal strength
  • Topology and volume preserving smoothing algorithms
  • Meshing of multiple structures/regions of interest
  • Conforming contact surfaces/interfaces
  • User definable mesh refinement


Simpleware FE Technical Data

The FE module is a fully integrated meshing module within ScanIP and converts mask and surface objects to volume meshes. It also allows for the creation of contact surfaces, node sets, shell elements, material properties, etc.

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Export Formats

  • FE Output: the FE exports can include nodes, hexahedral, tetrahedral and shell elements, material properties, contact surfaces and node sets.
    • Abaqus
    • Adina
    • Ansys
    • Ansys Workbench
    • COMSOL Multiphysics (model)
    • COMSOL Multiphysics (mesh)
    • LS-Dyna
    • MSC Nastran and Patran
    • VTK
    • MATLAB
  • CFD Output:
    • FLUENT
    • OpenFOAM
    • COMSOL Multiphysics (model)
    • COMSOL Multiphysics (mesh)
    • VTK
    • MATLAB

Mesh generation

  • Multipart Volumetric Meshing (options available for FE and CFD meshes):
    • Mixed hexahedral/tetrahedral or pure tetrahedral element volume meshing
    • Element types: Linear, straight quadratic or curved quadratic
    • Choice of meshing algorithms:
      • FE Grid: image resolution based mesh
      • FE Free: progressively decimated (or refined) mesh from the image resolution
    • Advanced FE Grid options:
      • Smooth or voxel cell (pure hexahedral with unsmoothed boundaries/interfaces) mesh
      • Surface smoothing
      • Mesh quality optimisation
      • Mesh adaptation
      • Smooth masks against exterior
    • Advanced FE Free options:
      • Coarseness slider to automatically adjust advanced parameters relating to mesh coarseness
      • Per-part meshing settings
      • Meshing mask and surface objects in the same model (without voxelisation)
      • Adaptive surface remeshing
      • Characteristic element edge lengths (min/max)
      • Surface elements constraints: surface change rate, number of elements across a layer
      • Volume elements constraints: internal change rate, number of quality optimisation cycles
      • Other options: snap to parent surface, snap surface object nodes to boundaries, smooth masks against exterior, refine near slits and cavities
    • Additional mesh quality improvement: User defined minimum target element qualities. Quality metrics include:
      • In-out aspect ratio
      • Tetrahedron volume skew
      • Tetrahedron minimum dihedral angle
      • Jacobian
    • Allow element nodes to be slightly off-surface to improve mesh quality
    • Preserve mesh periodicity at periodic faces (if any) of the geometry
    • Part-wise mesh generation with smooth, conforming interfaces at boundaries
    • Adaptive meshing for reduced mesh density away from boundaries
    • Automated feature based mesh refinement (FE Free)
    • Boundary layer meshing: generate triangular prism cells close to solid boundaries
    • Element quality statistics provided in the log history
    • Mesh refinement regions: User defined mesh density control through the use of regions of interest (ROIs) of high density and relaxation/transition zones. Available ROI options include:
      • Frustum
      • Sphere/spheroid
      • Cube/cuboid
      • Cylinder
      • Finite plane
      • Cone
  • Multipart Volumetric Meshing (options available for FE meshes only):
    • Shell elements: Shell element sets can be defined at the outer surfaces and interfaces of parts. This shell mesh can either be exported on its own or as a layer of elements encasing the volumetric mesh. The ROI tools can also be used to define shell element sets.
    • Contact Surfaces and Node Sets: Contact surfaces and node sets can be automatically defined between any parts in contact as well as between a part and the surrounding medium and a part and the borders of the bounding box. The ROI tools can also be used to define surface and node sets. When ROIs are used for node and surface sets, the mesh can be aligned to these.
  • Multipart Volumetric Meshing (options available for CFD meshes only):
    • CFD Export Options: Material definitions can be set to either fluid or solid. It is possible to define any identifiable contact surface as a specific boundary type:
      • Wall
      • Symmetry
      • Inlet (velocity, pressure, mass-flow, vent or fan intake)
      • Outlet (pressure, exhaust, vent or outflow)
      • Interior boundaries (interface, porous jump, fan or radiator)
      • Generic patch (to be assigned in CFD package)
    • Define high quality arbitrary inlets/outlets for CFD using mesh clipping planes, either automatically (using centrelines) or manually
    • Boundary layer meshing: generate triangular prism cells close to solid boundaries to model high fluid gradients in the viscous regions
  • Material Properties: Volume element material properties can be set to:
    • Placeholder: for later definition in FE package of choice
    • Homogeneous: where mass density, Young's Modulus and the Poisson's ratio are constants defined by the user
    • Greyscale: where material properties within parts can be automatically assigned from the image data, based on user defined functions to relate greyscale value of the original data to density
    • Density: as a function of element parent voxel greyscale (GS) is given by:
      ρ = a + (b × GS)

      (where a and b are user defined variables which may be non-integer).
    • Young's Modulus: as a function of density is given by:
      E = a + (b × ρc)

      (where a, b and c, are user defined variables)
    • Poisson's ratio: as a function of density is given by:
      µ = a

      (where a is user defined)
  • Mesh Quality Inspection Tool
    • Inspect FE/CFD mesh quality based on a variety of metrics
    • Inspect elements/cells individually or in groups (violating the same quality metric)
    • Show mesh errors (self-intersections) and/or warnings (distorted elements/cells)
    • Click on an entry in the quality inspection dialog to zoom into the specific element/cell
    • Also pin-points location within the image data/segmentation
    • User defined thresholds on quality metrics
    • Available mesh quality metrics:
      • In-out aspect ratio
      • Edge length aspect ratio
      • Angular skew
      • Volume skew
      • Shape factor
      • Min/max dihedral angle
      • Jacobian
      • Minimum edge length
      • Boundary layer edge length ratio (for CFD meshes only)

Download Technical Datasheet