Case Study | 4.4.2016

IntuaMesh: From CAD to Mesh in No Time Flat

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Software Development

Computational Modeling


Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)

IntuaMesh was created by Protection Engineering Consultants (PEC) to automatically mesh CAD files in support of expedient modeling of armored vehicles and similar structures.  The IntuaMesh software was developed in support of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Adaptive Vehicle Make (AVM) program, under subcontract to Southwest Research Institute (SwRI).  AVM was an ambitious program to reduce the time required for the design, development, and production of complex defense cyber-mechanical systems, such as military ground vehicles.

The IntuaMesh software is written in Python as well as the Script Command Language (SCL) employed by Livermore Software Technology Corporation (LSTC).  A Python module is used as the interface and a wrapper for LS-PrePost (LSPP).  By leveraging the functions in LSPP through the SCL, nine different algorithms were written to generate shell meshes of cold-formed shapes, I beams, T beams, angles, rods, plates, and tubes. Logic is used in these algorithms to identify the shape characteristics needed to define an equivalent FEA shell mesh of the CAD geometry. These algorithms are the heart of IntuaMesh and are used to generate superior meshes in a fraction of the time required by traditional hand methods.

A CAD file with multiple parts (hundreds to thousands) is opened and parsed by IntuaMesh to create separate CAD files for each part.  After user designation of each part, IntuaMesh executes shape specific algorithms on each CAD file to modify the geometry and prepare it for meshing operations. The generated mesh of each part is then included in a master input file that groups all parts into one LS-DYNA formatted input deck.

With the time savings from this automated meshing process, engineers can focus energy on building models that produce accurate and precise simulations. As an example, the sample vehicle hull shown at right required less than 5 minutes to generate a mesh with corresponding *PART and *SECTION cards. Performing the same work manually may take an engineer days or weeks depending on the complexity and number of parts.

Animations depicting the IntuaMesh process and capabilities are shown at right.  Additional details can be found in “AutoMesher for LS-DYNA® Vehicle Modelling”, Alberson, Stevens, Walker and Moore, 13th International LS-DYNA User’s Conference, June 2014.


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