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Tetrahedral Element Shape Optimization via the Jacobian Determinant and Condition Number

Freitag, Lori A. and Patrick M. Knupp

Proceedings, 8th International Meshing Roundtable, South Lake Tahoe, CA, U.S.A., pp.247-258, October 1999


Lori A. Freitag
Mathematics and Computer Science Division,
Argonne National Laboratory,
Argonne, IL 60439

Patrick M. Knupp
Parallel Computing Sciences Department
Sandia National Laboratories
M/S 0441, P.O. Box 5800
Albuquerque, NM 87185-0441

We present a new shape measure for tetrahedral elements that is optimal in the sense that it gives the distance of a tetrahedron from the set of inverted elements. This measure is constructed from the condition number of the linear transformation between a unit equilateral tetrahedron and any tetrahedron with positive volume. We use this shape measure to formulate two optimization objective functions that are differentiated by their goal: the first seeks to improve the average quality of the tetrahedral mesh; the second aims to improve the worst-quality element in the mesh. Because the element condition number is not defined for tetrahedra with negative volume, these objective functions can be used only when the initial mesh is valid. Therefore, we formulate a third objective function using the determinant of the element Jacobian that is suitable for mesh untangling. We review the optimization techniques used with each objective function and present experimental results that demonstrate the effectiveness of the mesh improvement and untangling methods. We show that a combined optimization approach that uses both condition number objective functions obtains the best-quality meshes.

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