SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation: Adding Local Mesh Control

Article by Jackie Yip on Dec 12, 2022

This guide explains adding a local mesh control in SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation. When interpreting results, we want to ensure that the data is accurate by refining areas with a higher cell count. It is important to consider that only certain areas may need to be optimized, which can reduce the overall effort of adding too many cells. SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation introduces several local mesh settings to help pick the appropriate settings.

Optimization Setup

SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation Mesh Control Setup

This example part demonstrates the change in velocity as the flow transverses through a narrow channel. Due to the substantial change in velocity, we will examine the default mesh plane to see if it can offer an accurate reporting of this velocity.

Default Mesh Plane in SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation

Currently, the mesh shows two cells between the solid and fluid. As a rule of thumb, we can optimize the results in this area by allowing 3-5 cells across the gap.

The next value to obtain is the model gap distance which should give the value on what flow considers a narrow channel.

Model Gap Distance in SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation Study

Minimum Gap Size

Before creating a local mesh, one consideration is to define the minimum gap size in the global mesh parameters. This helps specify where channels are detected in the model (the gap between the solid and fluid).

SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation Global Mesh Settings

The default value is based on the model size, computational domain, and boundary conditions created in the study. If we choose to enter this value manually, we can review the mesh resolution later in our results to see the effects.

Adding Local Mesh Control

There are two options for adding a local mesh

  • CommandManager: Mesh Settings > Local Mesh
  • Study Tree: Right-click Mesh Insert Local Mesh

Add Local Mesh Control in SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation

In newer versions of SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation, two filters can be used for specifying the area:

  • Solid body that encompasses the volume
  • Adding a region based on a predefined shape

With either option, ensure the area covers the entire fluid boundary. In this example, we will pick the region filter with the cuboid shape. The area to capture will also surround the channels as needed.

SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation Adding Local Mesh Controls

Channel Settings

In the Channel settings, two main values can be entered: 

  • Characteristic Number of cells: With each level, the number of cells between the gap can be divided by half.
  • Maximum Channel refinement level: The number of times the cells can be divided across the gap.

 We will start by dividing the cell across the width.

Add Mesh Controls in SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation

To increase the cells in the gap, we can adjust the characteristic level to a higher value.

Characteristic Level Example SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation

In flow, the number of cells grew exponentially. As shown above, we have reached our goal with the number of cells between the gaps.


We can review the mesh by creating a mesh plot

  • CommandManager: Insert Mesh
  • Study Tree: Under results, right-click Mesh > Insert

Mesh Plot Summary in SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation

Using the options below, we can specify a plot based on all faces and colors based on the refinement level. The growth of the number of cells is indicated by the size of the cells getting smaller with each level of refinement.

SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation Local Mesh Settings

Based on this, each refinement level divides the cell by half in both width and height. With the SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation local mesh settings, we have accomplished our goal of refining the cells across this region. 

GoEngineer YouTube Video SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation - Mesh Controls Want to learn more? Check out this YouTube video for a detailed demonstration of adding mesh controls in SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation.

More SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation Tutorials

SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation FEA Load Transfer: Setup, Results, & Static Study

SOLIDWORKS Simulation Solution Adaptive Mesh Refinement

SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation Design of Experiments and Optimization Study

SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation Sliding Mesh Explained

How Do I Know My Mesh Is Good Enough?



About Jackie Yip

Jackie Yip is a Technical Support Engineer at GoEngineer. When Jackie isn’t assisting customers or teaching a SOLIDWORKS Essentials class, he enjoys road biking and keeping up on the latest tech trends.

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