Andreas Longva, Fabian Löschner, Tassilo Kugelstadt, José Antonio Fernández-Fernández, Jan Bender, Higher-Order Finite Elements for Embedded Simulation, ACM Transactions on Graphics (SIGGRAPH Asia), 2020

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Abstract

As demands for high-fidelity physics-based animations increase, the need for accurate methods for simulating deformable solids grows. While higher-order finite elements are commonplace in engineering due to their superior approximation properties for many problems, they have gained little traction in the computer graphics community. This may partially be explained by the need for finite element meshes to approximate the highly complex geometry of models used in graphics applications. Due to the additional per-element computational expense of higher-order elements, larger elements are needed, and the error incurred due to the geometry mismatch eradicates the benefits of higher-order discretizations. One solution to this problem is the embedding of the geometry into a coarser finite element mesh. However, to date there is no adequate, practical computational framework that permits the accurate embedding into higher-order elements.

We develop a novel, robust quadrature generation method that generates theoretically guaranteed high-quality sub-cell integration rules of arbitrary polynomial accuracy. The number of quadrature points generated is bounded only by the desired degree of the polynomial, independent of the embedded geometry. Additionally, we build on recent work in the Finite Cell Method (FCM) community so as to tackle the severe ill-conditioning caused by partially filled elements by adapting an Additive-Schwarz-based preconditioner so that it is suitable for use with state-of-the-art non-linear material models from the graphics literature. Together these two contributions constitute a general-purpose framework for embedded simulation with higher-order finite elements.

We finally demonstrate the benefits of our framework in several scenarios, in which second-order hexahedra and tetrahedra clearly outperform their first-order counterparts.


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