Meshing with SimModeler

The meshing workflow is presented through a simple example, by meshing the CAD model obtained from Generating a CAD model using GOCAD: basic tutorial. The created stl-file is imported via File > Import Discrete Data.


The procedure to download SimModeler (GUI) and the SimModeler modeling suite (library) is detailed here. Note that to be able to properly define the boundary conditions and to be able to export the mesh in the proper format, SimModeler has to be SeisSol customized.

SimModeler version

We have used so far 3 main versions of SimModeler (3, 4 and 5). Sometimes, quality meshes can be obtained on older versions of SimModeler whereas the latest version of SimModeler is not able to get quality meshes (in that case the support of SimModeler is very reactive and helpful). It is then important to notice that smd file created in older versions of SimModeler can be read in all SimModeler versions. On the other hand, smd file from the latest simModeler releases are not backward compatible. Anyway, in most cases, we strongly recommend using the latest version of SimModeler.

Analysis tab

tab Analysis > Click twice on “New Case” on the Analysis Attributes panel. give a name. If your SimModeler is set for SeisSol, the solver seisSol should appear in the drop-down menu.

Select the top surface (several surfaces can be selected by holding Shift), click on the + sign > Boundary conditions > Free Surface. And then on Apply-close (no need to enter a name). Process similarly for the Absorbing and Dynamic rupture boundary conditions.

Meshing tab

The default Surface Meshing and Volume meshing attributes are initially set. Their default attributes can be changed by clicking on them in the mesh attribute tab. In particular, the Smoothing algorithm can be changed from Laplacian to gradient (quoting SimModeler manual, “This algorithm will generally produce better results, but at some performance cost”). The Smoothing level can also be changed (max 1 for Volume meshing and 4 for Surface meshing according to the manual). Finally, the Discrete Face Rotation Angle Limit is also a parameter to consider, for knowing to which extend the CAD model has to be matched.

+ > Mesh Size > Absolute > e.g. 5000 will define a maximum mesh size in the model.
+ > Gradation > Rate > e.g. 0.15 will define the coarsening rate within the mesh. The smaller the value, the slower the coarsening within the mesh.
Click on the fault then + > Mesh Size > Absolute > e.g. 250 to define the on-fault size.
Click on the fault then + > Mesh Size Propagation > propagation distance: e.g. 1000, scaling Factor e.g. 2. This allows the mesh to remain fine in a box bounding the fault. For example here, the mesh is coarsened away from the fault according to the gradation rate set, with a maximum value of 2*250m = 500m within this box.
+ > Surface Shape Metric > Aspect Ratio > e.g. 3 and
+ > Volume Shape Metric > Aspect Ratio > e.g. 6 will define quality levels that the mesher will try to enforce. The mesher will not necessarily create a mesh which passes all the Shape Metric set. From our experience, setting additional shape metrics does not help improving the mesh. An easy mesh can reach AR < 10. For more complex meshes, AR < 40 should be expected.

Generating the mesh

Meshing tab > Generate Mesh

Checking mesh quality

Display tab > Mesh Stats > check Aspect Ratio > look at extreme value and results spread.
Display tab > Region Select > change the Aspect Ratio range and visualize where are the badly shaped elements. If they are related to some geometric features of the CAD model (e.g. narrow layers, shallow dipping fault) then the CAD model should be modified to allow meshes of better quality.

Exporting the mesh

File > Export Analysis > e.g. test.neu
In case of a large mesh (several million cells), it is probably quicker to mesh using Pumgen. In this case, before meshing save the model file before meshing, and run the mesher using Pumgen.