As computer aided design (CAD) geometry has become more detailed, developing a finite element model to capture these features has required an increasing amount of time and experience. A tetrahedral mesh is often chosen because of its speed and robustness to discretize heavily featured geometry (e.g. hundreds of fillets). However, for structural analysis, tetrahedral elements can produce “stiff” results with an unacceptable percent error. For example, a modal analysis can produce higher than expected frequencies. To overcome this, mesh refinement and higher order tetrahedral elements can be used but this costs increased solve times and computational resources.
Another well-known approach to discretizing a model is “map meshing”, also known as solid meshing and hex meshing. For a given element size, its formulation does not have the issue of stiffness, it has faster solve times, and can produce results with less percent error. For all the advancements in processing automation, map meshing has not reached the level of automation like tet meshing has, leaving a large part of it to remain an art that is heavily dependent on user experience.