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Development and evaluation of a degenerate seven-node hexahedron finite element

Clark, Brett W. and Steven E. Benzley

5th International Meshing Roundtable, Sandia National Laboratories, pp.321-332, October 1996


This paper presents the development and evaluation of the knife finite element which is a degenerate case of a hexahedral element. The knife connectivity is an artifact of automatic all-hexahedral mesh generators. Currently, knives are propagated to the surface of the mesh for removal. However, since this disturbs the surface mesh, other alternatives are needed. This paper investigates the option of leaving the knife connectivity in the mesh and treating it as a valid finite element. The shape functions and stiffness matrix for the knife element are derived and evaluated using theoretical and practical evaluations. It is concluded that the knife finite element is a viable element and can be used in finite element analysis when the knife connectivity occurs. Using the knife element reduces the work involved with fixing the knife connectivity by propagation or other means and will produce acceptable results in most cases.

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