Clustered generalized finite element methods for mesh unrefinement, non-matching and invalid meshes

C. A. Duarte, Tad J. Liszka, Woytek W. Tworzydlo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In spite of significant advancements in automatic mesh generation during the past decade, the construction of quality finite element discretizations on complex three-dimensional domains is still a difficult and time demanding task. In this paper, the partition of unity framework used in the generalized finite element method (GFEM) is exploited to create a very robust and flexible method capable of using meshes that are unacceptable for the finite element method, while retaining its accuracy and computational efficiency. This is accomplished not by changing the mesh but instead by clustering groups of nodes and elements. The clusters define a modified finite element partition of unity that is constant over part of the clusters. This so-called clustered partition of unity is then enriched to the desired order using the framework of the GFEM. The proposed generalized finite element method can correctly and efficiently deal with: (i) elements with negative Jacobian; (ii) excessively fine meshes created by automatic mesh generators; (iii) meshes consisting of several sub-domains with non-matching interfaces. Under such relaxed requirements for an acceptable mesh, and for correctly defined geometries, today's automated tetrahedral mesh generators can practically guarantee successful volume meshing that can be entirely hidden from the user. A detailed technical discussion of the proposed generalized finite element method with clustering along with numerical experiments and some implementation details are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2409-2440
Number of pages32
JournalInternational Journal for Numerical Methods in Engineering
Issue number11
StatePublished - Mar 12 2007


  • Generalized finite element methods
  • Mesh generation
  • Mesh unrefinement
  • Meshless methods
  • Non-matching meshes
  • Partition of unity methods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Numerical Analysis
  • Engineering(all)
  • Applied Mathematics


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