For a finite element (FE) calculation the body to be calculated is described using many small elements.
The elements may be points, linear, planar or solid.
The division into smaller parts (finite elements) is called meshing or discretization.
It looks like a mesh, which is laid over the part.
Today simulation programs take over the discretization partially or completely automatically.
This way an idealized model is produced to be processed for the calculation.
It is important to pay attention to the mesh density: The absolute value of all results always depends on the mesh density. Therefore, it is important that the same mesh density is chosen for each calculation variant so that differences in the calculation results are not due to different element sizes. It should also be noted that the numerical complexity and thus the calculation time increases overproportionally as the number of elements increases.

Each element is assigned certain properties.
Flat elements, for example, can be assigned the wall thickness, or line elements their cross section.
For each individual element the correspondign equations are calculated.
These are for example the deformation do to loars, the speed due to changes in volume flow, or the temperature change due to heat input.
For the entire component, the individual equations are combined in an overall matrix. Therefore it is possible to calculate arbitrary complex geometries.

Discretization in Plastic Industry by TecSim

Simulation: Discretization with shell elements on the surface of a box

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This glossary of plastic industry is provided by PLEXPERT Canada Inc.