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When a frame structure is analyzed using a FEM computer software, does the program still generate mesh, even as a line mesh, on frame members, or we must do it ourselves?

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This is really dependant on the package or the software used. Most commercial software packages such as ANSYS and COMSOL multiphysics have built-in mesh generators. If you are writing your own code to solve structural problems, then you could use open-source discretization packages like MeshLab or TetGen. Personally, I like using COMSOL multiphysics for these kinds of problems. Their interface is very intuitive for mesh generation.

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  • $\begingroup$ Analyzing a frame structure with an auto-generated 3D solid mesh is overkill by several orders of magnitude, but if you have a million times more computing power than you actually need to get the work done, wasting it doesn't really cost much - except when it produces meaningless stress concentrations near the joints which make it hard to interpret the output! $\endgroup$
    – alephzero
    Oct 23 '20 at 20:32
  • $\begingroup$ Yes that was what I was thinking, so in other words, we do not do auto meshing in frame structures, and we just draw/show the frame line or shell elements and the program divides each member evenly to several pieces and that is all we need for frame or truss structures correct? I mean that is the mesh here, but it is not like a 3D mesh which is overkill right? So this 2d or 3d auto meshing would be more beneficial for the people who analyze irregular 2d or 3d problems correct? $\endgroup$ Oct 24 '20 at 19:05

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