Calculating accurate stresses with finite elements can be a tedious and time-consuming process involving manual mesh refinement, especially for large models. The pioneering software Mechanica, of which I was a co-inventor and a lead developer, made this easier by using automatic p-adaptive analysis. More recently, other codes have added automatic mesh refinement capabilities to address this problem. But this method can fail for large models if the software fails to remesh the model. It can also lead to long solution times since the entire model is being adaptively remeshed. Also, there are limitations, for example for some codes automatic mesh refinement is not available for mixed shell and solid meshes. And this is not useful for legacy models unless they are recreated in the newer software codes.
StressRefine addresses this problem by reanalyzing meshes from other FEA codes, using p-adaptivity to calculate stress more accurately. This works very well for the typical meshes produced by commercial FEA automeshers. For large models, stressRefine automatically extracts local regions of the model and solves them quickly and adaptively to calculate more accurate stress results. This is available in other codes where it is referred to as “breakout modeling” or “sub-modeling”, but to my knowledge stressRefine is the only code that does this automatically and adaptively. StressRefine can also automatically extract more accurate stresses in the solid elements of models with mixed meshes (such as shells, beams, links, etc).
StressRefine is available for free download, please see the software page.