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Bonifati Evseev
Bonifati Evseev

Ansa Software: A Powerful and Versatile Tool for CAD Model Repairing and Meshing


Ansa Software Tutorial: A Guide for Beginners




If you are looking for a powerful and versatile software for CAD model repairing and meshing, you might want to check out Ansa Software. Ansa Software is a pre-processing tool that can handle complex geometries, create high-quality meshes, and prepare models for various simulation purposes. In this article, we will show you what Ansa Software is, what it can do, how to install it, and how to use it for a simple example of CAD model repairing and meshing.




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What is Ansa Software?




Ansa Software is a product of BETA CAE Systems, a company that specializes in engineering simulation software and services. Ansa Software is one of the leading pre-processing software in the market, with applications in various industries such as automotive, aerospace, defense, energy, biomedical, and more.


Ansa Software can read and write various CAD formats, such as IGES, STEP, CATIA, NX, SolidWorks, etc. It can also interface with many solvers, such as ANSYS, Abaqus, Nastran, Fluent, etc. Ansa Software can perform geometry cleanup, simplification, de-featuring, surface meshing, volume meshing, boundary conditions definition, and model checking.


Ansa Software has many features and benefits that make it a preferred choice for many engineers and analysts. Some of them are:


  • It has a user-friendly graphical user interface (GUI) that allows easy navigation and manipulation of the model.



  • It has a powerful geometry engine that can handle complex shapes and topologies.



  • It has a robust topology functionality that can create and maintain the connectivity of neighboring faces.



  • It has a flexible mesh generation algorithm that can create structured or unstructured meshes with various element types and sizes.



  • It has a comprehensive mesh improvement toolbox that can optimize the mesh quality and performance.



  • It has a fast and efficient volume meshing module that can create tetrahedral or hexahedral meshes with various methods.



  • It has a rich set of tools for model verification and validation, such as checking for gaps, overlaps, penetrations, free edges, etc.



  • It has a scripting capability that allows automation and customization of tasks.



Ansa Software Requirements and Installation




To use Ansa Software, you need to have a computer with the following specifications:


  • Operating system: Windows 10 or Linux (64-bit)



  • Processor: Intel Core i5 or higher



  • Memory: 8 GB RAM or higher



  • Hard disk: 10 GB free space or higher



  • Graphics card: NVIDIA or AMD with OpenGL support



To install Ansa Software on your computer, you need to follow these steps:


  • Download the latest version of Ansa Software from the official website https://www.beta-cae.com/ansa.htm.



  • Extract the zip file to a folder of your choice.



  • Run the setup.exe file and follow the instructions on the screen.



  • Enter the license information when prompted. You can request a trial license or purchase a full license from the website.



  • Launch Ansa Software from the start menu or the desktop shortcut.



How to Use Ansa Software for CAD Model Repairing and Meshing




In this section, we will show you how to use Ansa Software for a simple example of CAD model repairing and meshing. We will use a CAD file of a part that needs some cleanup, simplification, and meshing for simulation purposes. The steps we will follow are:


  • Read the CAD file with proper translator settings.



  • Clean up and heal the geometry.



  • Prepare the surface mesh.



  • Create the volume mesh.



Step 1: Read the CAD file with proper translator settings




The first step is to read the CAD file into Ansa Software. The CAD file we will use is an IGES file named basics.igs, which contains the geometry of the part. You can download this file from http://dma.ing.uniroma1.it/users/paciorri/the_basics_cfd.pdf, which is a tutorial document that explains the basics of Ansa Software for CFD applications.


To read the CAD file, follow these steps:


  • Start Ansa Software and select the CFD option from the pop-up launcher. This will open Ansa Software with the default CFD layout.



  • Click on the File menu and select Import > IGES.



  • Browse to the folder where you saved the basics.igs file and select it.



  • Click on the Settings button to open the translator settings window.



  • In the Translators section, make sure that the Perform ANSA Topology flag is activated. This will ensure that the topology process is applied during CAD file opening.



  • In the same section, deactivate the Clean Geometry flag. This will prevent the automatic geometry cleanup step from being performed. We will do this manually later.



  • In the Tolerances section, select extra fine tolerance settings (HOT POINTS matching distance 0.003125, CONS matching distance 0.0125). These settings should correspond to the dimensions, level of detail, and tolerances of the CAD file to avoid collapsed faces (large tolerances) or gaps (very small tolerances).



  • Click OK to close the translator settings window and click OK again to start reading the CAD file.



Step 2: Clean up and heal the geometry




The second step is to clean up and heal the geometry of the part. This involves removing any errors or defects in the geometry that might affect the quality or performance of the mesh or simulation. Some common geometry issues are gaps, overlaps, penetrations, free edges, duplicate faces, etc.


Ansa Software provides various tools and functions for geometry cleanup and healing, both manual and automatic. In this example, we will use both methods to demonstrate their advantages and disadvantages.


Manual Cleanup




The manual cleanup method involves inspecting and modifying each face or edge individually or in groups, using various commands such as delete, merge, split, extend, etc. This method gives more control and accuracy over the geometry modification, but it can be time-consuming and tedious for complex models.


To perform manual cleanup, follow these steps:


  • In the TOPO menu, click on the Show button and select Faces > All Faces. This will display all faces in different colors according to their property IDs (PIDs).



  • Click on the Check button and select Gaps > All Gaps. This will highlight all gaps between faces in red color.



  • Select one of the gaps by clicking on it with your mouse. You will see some information about it in a pop-up window, such as its length, width, area, etc.



  • To close this gap, click on the Modify button and select Faces > Close Gap > Auto Close Gap. This will create a new face that fills in the gap between two existing faces.



  • Repeat this process for all other gaps until there are no more red highlights on your model.



Automatic Cleanup




The automatic cleanup method involves applying a predefined set of rules and criteria to detect and fix geometry issues automatically. This method can save time and effort for complex models with many issues. However, this method can also introduce unwanted changes or errors in the geometry that might not be detected or desired by the user.


To perform automatic cleanup, follow these steps:


  • In the TOPO menu, click on the Show button and select Faces > All Faces. This will display all faces in different colors according to their property IDs (PIDs).



  • Click on the Check button and select Gaps > All Gaps. This will highlight all gaps between faces in red color.



  • Click on the Modify button and select Faces > Close Gap > Auto Cleanup. This will open a window with various options for automatic geometry cleanup.



  • Select the appropriate options for your model, such as tolerance, gap width, gap area, etc. You can also preview the results before applying them.



  • Click OK to start the automatic cleanup process. This will close all gaps and fix other geometry issues according to the selected options.



De-featuring




De-featuring is another aspect of geometry simplification that involves removing unnecessary details or features from the model that might not affect the simulation results or might cause difficulties in meshing. Some examples of such features are small holes, fillets, chamfers, etc.


Ansa Software provides various tools and functions for de-featuring, both manual and automatic. In this example, we will use both methods to demonstrate their advantages and disadvantages.


Manual De-featuring




The manual de-featuring method involves identifying and deleting each feature individually or in groups, using various commands such as delete, merge, split, extend, etc. This method gives more control and accuracy over the geometry modification, but it can be time-consuming and tedious for complex models.


To perform manual de-featuring, follow these steps:


  • In the TOPO menu, click on the Show button and select Faces > All Faces. This will display all faces in different colors according to their property IDs (PIDs).



  • Click on the Select button and select Faces > By Feature Angle. This will allow you to select faces by specifying an angle threshold.



  • Enter a value of 10 degrees for the angle threshold and click OK. This will select all faces that have an angle difference of less than 10 degrees with their neighboring faces.



  • Click on the Delete button to delete all selected faces. This will remove all small features such as holes and fillets from the model.



Automatic De-featuring




The automatic de-featuring method involves applying a predefined set of rules and criteria to detect and remove features automatically. This method can save time and effort for complex models with many features. However, this method can also introduce unwanted changes or errors in the geometry that might not be detected or desired by the user.


To perform automatic de-featuring, follow these steps:


  • In the TOPO menu, click on the Show button and select Faces > All Faces. This will display all faces in different colors according to their property IDs (PIDs).



  • Click on the Modify button and select Faces > De-feature > Auto De-feature. This will open a window with various options for automatic geometry de-featuring.



  • Select the appropriate options for your model, such as feature angle, feature size, feature area, etc. You can also preview the results before applying them.



  • Click OK to start the automatic de-featuring process. This will remove all features that match the selected criteria from the model.



Step 3: Prepare the surface mesh




The third step is to prepare the surface mesh of the part. This involves creating a mesh of triangular or quadrilateral elements on each face of the part, with appropriate element size and quality for simulation purposes.


Ansa Software provides various tools and functions for surface meshing, both manual and automatic. In this example, we will use both methods to demonstrate their advantages and disadvantages.


Uniform Mesh




The uniform mesh method involves creating a mesh with a constant element size on each face of the part. This method is simple and fast, but it might not capture the curvature or details of the geometry well enough.


To create a uniform mesh, follow these steps:


  • In the TOPO menu, click on the Show button and select Faces > All Faces. This will display all faces in different colors according to their property IDs (PIDs).



  • Click on the Mesh button and select Faces > Mesh All. This will open a window with various options for surface meshing.



  • Select the element type as Triangles, the element size as 10 mm, and the quality criteria as Default. You can also adjust other options such as smoothing, projection, etc.



  • Click OK to start the surface meshing process. This will create a uniform triangular mesh on all faces of the part.



Variable Size Mesh




The variable size mesh method involves creating a mesh with a variable element size on each face of the part, depending on the curvature or other criteria. This method can capture the geometry better and reduce the number of elements, but it might require more user input and computation time.


To create a variable size mesh, follow these steps:


  • In the TOPO menu, click on the Show button and select Faces > All Faces. This will display all faces in different colors according to their property IDs (PIDs).



  • Click on the Mesh button and select Faces > Mesh All. This will open a window with various options for surface meshing.



  • Select the element type as Triangles, the element size as Curvature Dependent, and the quality criteria as Default. You can also adjust other options such as smoothing, projection, etc.



  • Click OK to start the surface meshing process. This will create a variable size triangular mesh on all faces of the part, based on the curvature of each face.



Mesh Improvement




The mesh improvement method involves modifying or optimizing the existing mesh to improve its quality or performance for simulation purposes. This involves changing the element shape, size, orientation, distribution, etc.


Ansa Software provides various tools and functions for mesh improvement, both manual and automatic. In this example, we will use both methods to demonstrate their advantages and disadvantages.


Manual Mesh Improvement




The manual mesh improvement method involves inspecting and modifying each element or group of elements individually or in groups, using various commands such as swap, split, collapse, smooth, etc. This method gives more control and accuracy over the mesh modification, but it can be time-consuming and tedious for complex models.


To perform manual mesh improvement, follow these steps:


  • In the TOPO menu, click on the Show button and select Elements > All Elements. This will display all elements in different colors according to their property IDs (PIDs).



  • Click on the Check button and select Elements > Quality Criteria > Default. This will highlight all elements that do not meet the default quality criteria in red color.



  • Select one of the bad elements by clicking on it with your mouse. You will see some information about it in a pop-up window, such as its area, aspect ratio, skewness, etc.



  • To improve this element, click on the Modify button and select Elements > Swap > Swap Edge. This will change the diagonal edge of a quadrilateral or triangular element to improve its shape.



  • Repeat this process for all other bad elements until there are no more red highlights on your model.



Automatic Mesh Improvement




The automatic mesh improvement method involves applying a predefined set of rules and criteria to detect and fix bad elements automatically. This method can save time and effort for complex models with many bad elements. However, this method can also introduce unwanted changes or errors in the mesh that might not be detected or desired by the user.


To perform automatic mesh improvement, follow these steps:


  • In the TOPO menu, click on the Show button and select Elements > All Elements. This will display all elements in different colors according to their property IDs (PIDs).



  • Click on the Check button and select Elements > Quality Criteria > Default. This will highlight all elements that do not meet the default quality criteria in red color.



  • Click on the Modify button and select Elements > Improve Quality > Auto Improve Quality. This will open a window with various options for automatic mesh improvement.



  • Select the appropriate options for your model, such as quality criteria, element type, swap mode, smooth mode, etc. You can also preview the results before applying them.



  • Click OK to start the automatic mesh improvement process. This will improve all bad elements that match the selected criteria.



Step 4: Create the volume mesh




The fourth and final step is to create the volume mesh of the part. This involves creating a mesh of tetrahedral, hexahedral, or mixed elements inside the volume of the part, with appropriate element size and quality for simulation purposes.


Ansa Software provides various tools and functions for volume meshing, both manual and automatic. In this example, we will use both methods to demonstrate their advantages and disadvantages.


Tetrahedral Mesh




The tetrahedral mesh method involves creating a mesh of tetrahedral elements inside the volume of the part. This method is simple and fast, but it might not capture the geometry or boundary layer well enough.


To create a tetrahedral mesh, follow these steps:


  • In the TOPO menu, click on the Show button and select Faces > All Faces. This will display all faces in different colors according to their property IDs (PIDs).



  • Click on the Mesh button and select Volume > Tetra Mesh. This will open a window with various options for tetrahedral meshing.



  • Select the element size as 10 mm and the quality criteria as Default. You can also adjust other options such as smoothing, projection, etc.



  • Click OK to start the tetrahedral meshing process. This will create a uniform tetrahedral mesh inside the volume of the part.



Hexahedral Mesh




The hexahedral mesh method involves creating a mesh of hexahedral elements inside the volume of the part. This method can capture the geometry and boundary layer better and reduce the number of elements, but it might require more user input and computation time.


To create a hexahedral mesh, follow these steps:


  • In the TOPO menu, click on the Show button and select Faces > All Faces. This will display all faces in different colors according to their property IDs (PIDs).



  • Click on the Mesh button and select Volume > Map Block. This will open a window with various options for hexahedral meshing.



  • Select the element size as 10 mm and the quality criteria as Default. You can also adjust other options such as smoothing, projection, etc.



  • Click OK to start the hexahedral meshing process. This will create a hexahedral mesh inside the volume of the part, using a map block algorithm that divides the volume into sub-volumes and maps each sub-volume with hexahedral elements.



Conclusion




In this article, we have shown you how to use Ansa Software for CAD model repairing and meshing. We have covered the following topics:


  • What is Ansa Software and what are its features and benefits?



  • How to install Ansa Software on your computer?



  • How to read a CAD file with proper translator settings?



  • How to clean up and heal the geometry?



  • How to prepare the surface mesh?



  • How to create the volume mesh?



We hope that this article has helped you to learn the basics of Ansa Software and how to use it for your own projects. If you want to learn more about Ansa Software, you can visit its official website https://www.beta-cae.com/ansa.htm, where you can find more information, tutorials, webinars, and support.


FAQs




Here are some frequently asked questions about Ansa Sof


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