A robust and scalable unfitted adaptive finite element framework for nonlinear solid mechanics

Santiago Badia, Manuel A. Caicedo, Alberto F. Martín*, Javier Principe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


In this work, we bridge standard Adaptive Mesh Refinement and coarsening (AMR) on scalable octree background meshes and robust unfitted Finite Element (FE) formulations for the automatic and efficient solution of large-scale nonlinear solid mechanics problems posed on complex geometries, as an alternative to standard body-fitted formulations, unstructured mesh generation and graph partitioning strategies. We pay special attention to those aspects requiring a specialized treatment in the extension of the unfitted h-adaptive Aggregated Finite Element Method (h-AgFEM) on parallel tree-based adaptive meshes, recently developed for linear scalar elliptic problems, to handle nonlinear problems in solid mechanics. In order to accurately and efficiently capture localized phenomena that frequently occur in nonlinear solid mechanics problems, we perform pseudo time-stepping in combination with h-adaptive dynamic mesh refinement and re-balancing driven by a-posteriori error estimators. The method is implemented considering both irreducible and mixed (u/p) formulations and thus it is able to robustly face problems involving incompressible materials. In the numerical experiments, both formulations are used to model the inelastic behavior of a wide range of compressible and incompressible materials. First, a selected set of benchmarks is reproduced as a verification step. Second, a set of experiments is presented with problems involving complex geometries. Among them, we model a cantilever beam problem with spherical hollows distributed in a simple cubic (SC) array. This test involves a discrete domain with up to 11.7M Degrees Of Freedom (DOFs) solved in less than two hours on 3072 cores of a parallel supercomputer.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114093
JournalComputer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'A robust and scalable unfitted adaptive finite element framework for nonlinear solid mechanics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this