A 3D NURBS-based interface-enriched generalized finite element method (NIGFEM) is introduced to solve problems with complex discontinuous gradient fields observed in the analysis of heterogeneous materials. The method utilizes simple structured meshes of hexahedral elements that do not necessarily conform to the material interfaces in heterogeneous materials. By avoiding the creation of conforming meshes used in conventional FEM, the NIGFEM leads to significant simplification of the mesh generation process. To achieve an accurate solution in elements that are crossed by material interfaces, the NIGFEM utilizes Non-Uniform Rational B-Splines (NURBS) to enrich the solution field locally. The accuracy and convergence of the NIGFEM are tested by solving a benchmark problem. We observe that the NIGFEM preserves an optimal rate of convergence, and provides additional advantages including the accurate capture of the solution fields in the vicinity of material interfaces and the built-in capability for hierarchical mesh refinement. Finally, the use of the NIGFEM in the computational analysis of heterogeneous materials is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)373-390
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Computational Physics
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016


  • G/XFEM
  • Material interfaces

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Numerical Analysis
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics


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