The hp-d-adaptive finite cell method for geometrically nonlinear problems of solid mechanics

D. Schillinger, A. Düster, E. Rank

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


The finite cell method (FCM) combines the fictitious domain approach with the p-version of the finite element method and adaptive integration. For problems of linear elasticity, it offers high convergence rates and simple mesh generation, irrespective of the geometric complexity involved. This article presents the integration of the FCM into the framework of nonlinear finite element technology. However, the penalty parameter of the fictitious domain is restricted to a few orders of magnitude in order to maintain local uniqueness of the deformation map. As a consequence of the weak penalization, nonlinear strain measures provoke excessive stress oscillations in the cells cut by geometric boundaries, leading to a low algebraic rate of convergence. Therefore, the FCM approach is complemented by a local overlay of linear hierarchical basis functions in the sense of the hp-d method, which synergetically uses the h-adaptivity of the integration scheme. Numerical experiments show that the hp-d overlay effectively reduces oscillations and permits stronger penalization of the fictitious domain by stabilizing the deformation map. The hp-d-adaptive FCM is thus able to restore high convergence rates for the geometrically nonlinear case, while preserving the easy meshing property of the original FCM. Accuracy and performance of the present scheme are demonstrated by several benchmark problems in one, two, and three dimensions and the nonlinear simulation of a complex foam sample.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1171-1202
Number of pages32
JournalInternational Journal for Numerical Methods in Engineering
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2 Mar 2012


  • Complex geometries
  • Fictitious domain methods
  • Finite cell method
  • Geometric nonlinearity
  • Hierarchical hp-d adaptivity
  • High-order finite elements


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