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I have a program that generates mesh for given 3d models. The generated mesh must use quadrangle elements.

It is required to add "shell elements generation capabilities". The requirement is as follows:

The mesh generator must have the ability to mesh "shell elements". Shell elements are two-dimensional elements that are created by meshing surfaces with zero-thickness. Shell elements are elements in a mesh that do not form a closed surface. The geometry examples provided are all closed volumes. An example of shell elements can be seen here -http://images.machinedesign.com/images/archive/closer0300jpg_00000036105.jpg

I don't know what are shell elements, how are they generated. Thanks for any help

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From the meshing point of view shell elements are just 2D elements. They can represent 3D structures because of the thickness assigned to them. This thickness is not modeled, but given to the analyzer as a property.

In order to create a shell mesh from a solid model, you have to remove the thickness dimension (ie. create quadrilateral element from a brick element) Mesh the surface and give the length of the removed dimension to the analyzer as a property.

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The term "shell" has a very specific meaning in solid mechanics, see for example http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plate_theory . Shell elements are simply finite elements that are used to numerically approximate the solution of equations derived in shell or plate theory. There are many books in the engineering literature that will help you understand what exactly all of this means and is.

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