A scalable parallel finite element framework for growing geometries. Application to metal additive manufacturing

Eric Neiva, Santiago Badia, Alberto F. Martín, Michele Chiumenti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


This work introduces an innovative parallel fully-distributed finite element framework for growing geometries and its application to metal additive manufacturing. It is well known that virtual part design and qualification in additive manufacturing requires highly accurate multiscale and multiphysics analyses. Only high performance computing tools are able to handle such complexity in time frames compatible with time-to-market. However, efficiency, without loss of accuracy, has rarely held the centre stage in the numerical community. Here, in contrast, the framework is designed to adequately exploit the resources of high-end distributed-memory machines. It is grounded on three building blocks: (1) hierarchical adaptive mesh refinement with octree-based meshes; (2) a parallel strategy to model the growth of the geometry; and (3) state-of-the-art parallel iterative linear solvers. Computational experiments consider the heat transfer analysis at the part scale of the printing process by powder-bed technologies. After verification against a three-dimensional (3D) benchmark, a strong-scaling analysis assesses performance and identifies major sources of parallel overhead. A third numerical example examines the efficiency and robustness of (2) in a curved 3D shape. Unprecedented parallelism and scalability were achieved in this work. Hence, this framework contributes to take on higher complexity and/or accuracy, not only of part-scale simulations of metal or polymer additive manufacturing but also in welding, sedimentation, atherosclerosis, or any other physical problem where the physical domain of interest grows in time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1098-1125
Number of pages28
JournalInternational Journal for Numerical Methods in Engineering
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 14 Sep 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • adaptive mesh refinement
  • additive manufacturing
  • domain decomposition
  • finite elements
  • parallel computing
  • powder-bed fusion

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