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Research Papers

Efficient Visualization Strategies for Large-Scale Finite Element Models

[+] Author and Article Information
Xu Liangyin, Li Yunpeng, Zhang Sheng

Department of Engineering Mechanics,
State Key Laboratory of Structural Analysis of
Industrial Equipment,
Dalian University of Technology,
Dalian 116024, China

Chen Biaosong

Department of Engineering Mechanics,
State Key Laboratory of Structural Analysis of
Industrial Equipment,
Dalian University of Technology,
Dalian 116024, China
e-mail: chenbs@dlut.edu.cn

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Computers and Information Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF COMPUTING AND INFORMATION SCIENCE IN ENGINEERING. Manuscript received February 19, 2017; final manuscript received October 24, 2017; published online January 18, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Jitesh H. Panchal.

J. Comput. Inf. Sci. Eng 18(1), 011007 (Jan 18, 2018) (13 pages) Paper No: JCISE-17-1041; doi: 10.1115/1.4038315 History: Received February 19, 2017; Revised October 24, 2017

In this paper, an effective strategy is proposed to realize the smooth visualization of large-scale finite element models on a desktop computer. Based on multicore parallel and graphics processing unit (GPU) computing techniques, the large-scale data of a finite element model and the corresponding graphics data can be handled and rendered effectively. The proposed strategies mainly consist of four parts. First, a parallel surface extraction technology based on the dual connections of elements and nodes is developed to reduce the graphics data. Second, the OpenGL vertex buffer object (VBO) technology is used to improve the rendering efficiency after surface extraction. Third, the element-hiding and cut-surface functions are implemented to facilitate the observation of the interior of the meshes. Finally, the stream/filter architecture, which has the advantages of efficient computation and communication, is introduced to meet the needs of large-scale data processing and various visualization methods. These strategies are developed on the general visualization system SiPESC.Post. Using these strategies, SiPESC.Post implements high-performance display and real-time operation for large-scale finite element models, especially for models containing millions or tens of millions of elements. To demonstrate the superiority and feasibility of the presented strategies, large-scale numerical examples are presented, and the strategies are compared with several commercial finite element software systems and open-source visual postprocessing packages in terms of visualization efficiency.

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References

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Improved system architecture

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Fig. 2

(a) OpenGL pipeline and (b) filter pipeline

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Fig. 3

Unified extension mechanism

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Fig. 7

Relationship of classes for filter module

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Fig. 4

Relationships among classes for FEM model module

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Fig. 5

(a) Node data structure, (b) edge data structure, and (c) face data structure

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Fig. 10

The complete filtering process for hiding elements

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Fig. 11

Hiding elements by coordinate: (a) mesh model, (b) wireframe model (c) wireframe model with internal faces removed, and (d) mesh model with elements hidden

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Fig. 12

The complete filtering process for a cut surface

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Fig. 9

The complete filtering process for surface extraction

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Fig. 15

The complete filtering process for topology optimization results

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Fig. 13

The flow chart for generating the cut surface

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Fig. 14

Surface cutting (a) mesh model and (b) mesh model with surface cutting

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Fig. 16

Topology optimization result visualization (a) cubic model before topology optimization and (b) cubic model after topology optimization

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Fig. 17

The complete filtering process for line element shape visualization

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Fig. 18

Line element visualization with various sectional shapes (a) not displaying sectional shape of line element, (b) displaying sectional shape of line element, (c) partial magnification of (a), and (d) partial magnification of (b)

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Fig. 19

Turbo model in Patran (a) model with edges and (b) model without edges

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Fig. 20

Turbo model in HyperMesh (a) model with edges and (b) model without edges

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Fig. 21

Turbo model in SiPESC.Post (a) model with edges and (b) model without edges

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Fig. 22

Engine model in Patran (a) model with edges and (b) model without edges

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Fig. 23

Engine model in HyperMesh (a) model with edges and (b) model without edges

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Fig. 24

Engine model in SiPESC.Post (a) model with edges and (b) model without edges

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Fig. 25

Gear model in visit (a) model with edges and (b) model without edges

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Fig. 28

Wheel hub model in visit (a) model with edges and (b) model without edges

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Fig. 29

Wheel hub model in Paraview (a) model with edges, (b) model with edges with mesh simplification, (c) model without edges, and (d) model without edges with mesh simplification

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Fig. 30

Wheel hub model in SiPESC.Post (a) model with edges and (b) model without edges

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Fig. 26

Gear model in ParaView (a) model with edges, (b) model with edges with mesh simplification, (c) model without edges, and (d) model without edges with mesh simplification

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Fig. 27

Gear model in SiPESC.Post (a) model with edges and (b) model without edges

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