Yu Hsiang Lan, Paul Fischer, Elia Merzari, Misun Min

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


We develop an all-hex meshing strategy for the interstitial space in beds of densely packed spheres that is tailored to turbulent flow simulations based on the spectral element method (SEM). The SEM achieves resolution through elevated polynomial order N and requires two to three orders of magnitude fewer elements than standard finite element approaches do. These reduced element counts place stringent requirements on mesh quality and conformity. Our meshing algorithm is based on a Voronoi decomposition of the sphere centers. Facets of the Voronoi cells are tessellated into quads that are swept to the sphere surface to generate a high-quality base mesh. Refinements to the algorithm include edge collapse to remove slivers, node insertion to balance resolution, localized refinement in the radial direction about each sphere, and mesh optimization. We demonstrate geometries with 102–105 spheres using ≈ 300 elements per sphere (for three radial layers), along with mesh quality metrics, timings, flow simulations, and solver performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 29th International Meshing Roundtable, IMR 2021
EditorsVladimir Z. Tomov, Xianfeng Gu, John Verdicchio
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781733489010
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes
Event29th International Meshing Roundtable, IMR 2021 - Virtual, Online
Duration: Jun 21 2021Jun 25 2021

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 29th International Meshing Roundtable, IMR 2021


Conference29th International Meshing Roundtable, IMR 2021
CityVirtual, Online


  • all-hex meshing
  • pebble bed reactor
  • projection
  • smoothing
  • spectral elements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)


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