An RVE of a synthetic microstructure was generated to simulate grain evolution within 3D domains. The matrix data was converted to a bitmapped voxel image containing grey scale values equal to the grain labels, before being imported to Simpleware ScanIP for processing. The synthetic data was segmented to create a surface representation of each grain, and then exported as a surface and volume mesh. One problem of structured hexahedral meshes are their “stair stepping” effect, which produces a degradation in model accuracy. This was solved in the new model through Simpleware’s anti-alias and smoothing tools, ensuring smooth contours along grain boundaries.
The Simpleware mesh generated with Simpleware FE module was better able to capture the size of small grains at a suitable resolution, compared to the structured mesh. Furthermore, Simpleware’s meshing algorithm was used to convert the segmented boundaries of the mesh into a triangulated surface representation, before applying a multi-part surface decimation algorithm and Delaunay tessellation with tetrahedral elements. The non-uniform meshing scheme results in a more accurate representation of grain geometry, while also reducing total degrees of freedom in the model. This has the effect of decreasing computational cost without significantly affecting result quality.