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Dr. K. P. Sinhamahapatra

Aerospace Engineering Department

IIT Kharagpur

What a Grid is?

A mesh/grid is an artificial geometric

construction that facilitates the spatial

discretization of the governing equations to

be solved.

The mesh determines the locations in the

field where the variables will be evaluated

and the stencil of the discrete equations.

The Importance

The final accuracy and efficiency of any

numerical solution are highly dependent on the

particular meshing strategy and mesh density

distribution employed.

A good matching of the strengths and

weaknesses of the grid generation and flow

solution techniques and a strong and favourable

interplay between the two is the key to an

efficient overall numerical solution.

Classification of Meshing Strategies

Structured Mesh ± Physical location of any mesh

point and the identity of its neighbours are known

implicitly. Physical locations may have to be stored.

Unstructured Mesh ± Physical location of a mesh

point and the identity of its neighbours, i.e., the

connectivity of the mesh are to be determined

explicitly.

Hybrid Mesh ± A combination of the two above.

Gridless Mesh ± A set of disconnected points

distributed throughout the field.

Structured Mesh

Cartesian Mesh ± Mesh generation is trivial. The

grid points and their connectivity are known

implicitly. Methods can be extended to complex

geometries using cut-cell approach.

Body-Fitted Mesh ± Grid lines/surfaces conform

to the boundary lines/surfaces. A warped or

mapped Cartesian-type mesh where the

boundaries of the mesh coincide exactly with the

the boundaries of the physical domain. Physical

location of the mesh points must be stored but the

identity of the neighbours known implicitly.

Structured Mesh ± Contd.

Overset Mesh ± Multiple overlapping grids

to discretize the domain, the solver

interpolates values between the various grids

in the regions of overlap.

Block-Structured Mesh ± The domain is

decomposed into a number of topologically

simpler domains and each domain is meshed

independently with a structured grid.

Single block structured mesh about a wing configuration

An overset grid for a complex geometry

A multi-block structured grid

Structured Grid Generation

Algebraic Methods ± Geometric data of the

Cartesian coordinates in the interior of a domain

are generated from specified values at the

boundaries through interpolations or specific

functions of the curvilinear coordinates.

PDE Mapping Methods ± Mapping by solving

PDEs with the dependent and independent

variables being the physical domain coordinates

and transformed computational domain

coordinates respectively.

Algebraic Methods

Domain Vertex Method ± utilize tensor

products of unidirectional FEM interpolation

functions (Lagrangian, Hermite or Spline) for

two or three dimensions.

Ö Ö Ö

, 1,2,3, , , 1,2

, , , 1,2,3, 1,....,8

i L M N iLMN

i N iN

x x i LMN

or

x x i N

c n .

cn.

=1 1 1 = =

=1 = =

Algebraic Methods ± Contd.

Transfinite Interpolation ± tensor

products of unidirectional interpolation

but with all sides of the boundaries

interpolated and matched. The corner

nodes are also matched.

Steps (2-dimensions)

1. Pick four points on which are identified

as the images of the four corners of . +

TFI ± Contd.

2. The resulting four curve segments are identified as

the graphs of the four vector valued functions F(0,),

F(1,), F(,0) and F(,1) ± the 4 segments of the

physical boundary are images of the 4 sides of the

computational domain.

3. A bilinearly blended transfinite function U(, ) is

constructed using (Boolean sum projection) the four

F functions that maps the boundary of the

computational domain to that of the physical

domain.

4. Check for univalency criteria ± nonsingular Jacobian

TFI ± Contd.

The univalent function matches F on

the boundary of and interpolates to F at a

finite set of points.

: U ;p;

? A ? A

? A

1 1 2 2

1 1 2 2

0, 1,

,0 ,1

N M NM

U F F F F

F F F

F F F

F F

c n c n n c c n

c n c n c n

n c n c n c

c n c n

¦ = · ±· =· +· · ·

¦

· =1 +1

· =1 +1

· · =1 1

b

Physical domain

Transformed computational

domain

Transfinite interpolation

F

NM

match the function at four corners but not

on all boundaries

Parameterization for 2D C-type structured grid

PDE Mapping Methods

Elliptic Grid Generator ± Solution of a set of

elliptic PDE, (Laplace or Poisson equations)

Iterative solution in the computational domain to

determine the grid coordinates (x,y).

2 2 2 2 2

2 2 2 2 2

2

2

x y x x x y y x x y x J Px Qx

x y y x x y y y x y y J Py Qy

L L cc c L c L cL c c LL c L

L L cc c L c L cL c c LL c L

!

!

1. Smooth grid point distribution

2. Orthogonality at boundaries

3. Desired clustering using appropriate

control functions P and Q

4. Construction of the control functions

is often difficult

5. Larger computational time

6. Most widely used

Hyperbolic Grid Generator

Applicable to open domain problem

Computationally efficient and less expensive

marching type solution

Inability to match prescribed point distribution

on all boundaries

Hyperbolic PDE for constraints of orthogonality

and cell volume/arc length

2

2 2 2 2

0 x x y y and

either x y y x V

or x y x y s

c L c L

c L c L

c c L L

!

! (

! (

Treatment of doubly and multiply connected domain for O-

type grid

Treatment of doubly and multiply connected domain for O type grid

O type elliptic grid with control

Geometry Definition ± Surface

Modeling & Surface Grid

Point Sets ± Union of ordered point sets that

define multiple cross-sections of the geometry.

Inaccurate and ambiguous form of surface

discretization. Geometry details like small

gaps, slope and curvature continuity not

preserved.

B-Rep ± Geometry definition by a set of 3 or 4

sided curved surface patches and trimmed

surfaces.

Approximation of a surface

with hole by two patches and

by a single trimmed surface

B-Rep

Surface Repair ± Removal of unrealistic

gaps, discontinuities and small overlaps

created by the CAD packages ± modified

input geometry.

Projection Surface ± The surface grid is

constructed on a projection surface which is

then placed over the collection of surface

patches that defines the actual geometry.

Mesh generation on the surface patches

Physical space approach ± grid points must

coincide with the actual surface and need to be

determined from the actual surface geometry.

Parametric space approach ± 2D meshing

problem. To be mapped back to physical space.

Possibility of invalid physical surface mesh for

highly warped surface or irregular

parameterization. Global or quilted patches

solely for meshing.

Elliptic Surface Grid

The governing equations are

_ a _ a

_ a _ a _ a

1 2

22 ,11 11 ,22 12 ,12 1 ,1 2 ,2 1 2

2 2 2 2 2 2

11 11

12 ,1 ,2

,11 ,22 ,12

1 2

1 2

1

Ö

2

, , ,

, , , , , ,

, , , , , , , ,

,

T T

T T T

a r a r a r r r b b n

a

a x y x y a x y z a x y z

a x x y y z z r x y z r x y z

r x y z r x y z r x y z

b b ar

c n n c c c c n n n

c n c n c n c c c n n n

cc cc cc nn nn nn cn cn cn

+ = +

= = + + = + +

= + + = =

= = =

e principal curvatures

Algebraic Surface Grid

Construction of curves on the surfaces and

surface patches using appropriate basis

polynomials and control vectors ± NURBS are

most widely used.

Union of the patches is the global surface.

For valid mesh the curves bordering each

patch are to be meshed the same way in all

patches containing them.

Mesh each patch, parametric space preferred.

Structured surface grid on the top surface of a generic hyperplane

Structured surface grid on the bottom surface of the hyperplane

Surface patches created on a hypersonic vehicle for unstructured grid generation

Adaptive Meshing

Mesh point movement or mesh redistribution ±

structure and connectivity preserved.

1. Spring analogy ± each edge a spring, stiffness depends

on the quantity to be minimized.

2. Variational principle ± minimization functional

containing various solution based criteria as well as

grid quality criteria simultaneously.

3. Control functions ± modified to produce clustering

based on solution gradients or truncation errors.

Mesh enrichment ± addition of extra vertices,

structure and connectivity lost.

Unstructured Grid

Requirement of structure in the mesh removed

offering increased flexibility.

Nodes numbered in any order, and have arbitrary

number of neighbours.

Arbitrary but homogeneous connectivity Single

data structure for the entire mesh unlike block

structured mesh.

Adaptive meshing is easy to implement

Algorithms closely tied to computational

geometry.

Unstructured Grid

Elements are generally triangles and

tetrahedrons ± but need not be.

Two most prevalent mesh generation

approaches.

1. Advancing Front Method

2. Delaunay Triangulation Method

Advancing Front Method

Initial Front ± union of the edges that discretize the

geometry boundary. This front advances out into the

field. A stack or priority queue.

Selecting an edge from this list, a new point is created

based on specified criteria so that an optimal triangle

is formed.

Updating the front ± by removing the current edge

and adding the two newly created edges depending on

their visibility.

Process terminates when the stack (front) is empty.

Advancing Front Concept. Dotted line is

the initial front

Point Selection

Field points are created to produce

triangles of optimal shape and size.

1. Specification of parameters

2. Field function or distribution function

3. Background grid

4. Interpolation

5. Cross-over (intersection) with other edges

6. Smaller edge or angle later

7. Smooth variation of triangle sizes

For 3D

1. Initial front is the surface grid (2D triangular

mesh on the boundary surfaces.

2. New points ahead of the front to form

tetrahedra.

3. Both edge-edge and edge-face intersection

check.

Local transformation (edge and/or face

swapping) for quality improvement.

Boundary integrity guaranteed

Delaunay Triangulation

Triangulation of a set of points using Delaunay

criterion ± ³No triangle can contain a point other

than its forming vertices within its circumcircle´

Unique triangulation (in 2D)

More efficient than AF

Boundary integrity lost, boundary to be

recovered

Max-min property ± maximizes the

smallest angle in the triangulation.

Incremental Delaunay Triangulation

Predetermined mesh points put in a list.

Initial triangulation of just a few triangles

to completely cover the domain to be

gridded.

Mesh points inserted sequentially into the

existing triangulation

Incremental Delaunay Triangulation

Insertion of a new point into an existing

triangulation is locating and deleting all

existing triangles whose circumcircle

contain the inserted point. A new

triangulation is then constructed by

joining the new point to all boundary

vertices of the cavity created. (Bowyer-

Watson Algorithm)

Point insertion technique

Automatic Point Placement

An initial coarse triangulation

A priority queue based on some triangle

parameter.

Field distribution of the parameter as desired.

Triangles in the queue are sequentially examined

and if required a point is inserted at the

circumcentre

New triangles are put in the queue if not

acceptable.

Boundary Integrity

Not guaranteed if the domain is concave.

Edges or faces that define the boundary do

not form a subset of the triangulation.

Boundary to be recovered by local

transformation (edge and face swapping)

and modifying the boundary point

resolution.

Constrained triangulation.

Edge swapping process

Edge-face swapping

Breakthrough of boundary in Delaunay triangulation

Example of a 2D unstructured grid

A tetrahedral unstructured grid for a 3D geometry

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