Engineering with Computers

, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 305–324 | Cite as

Finite element mesh generation for subsurface simulation models

  • Antonio Carlos de Oliveira Miranda
  • William Wagner Matos Lira
  • Ricardo Cavalcanti Marques
  • Andre Maues Brabo Pereira
  • Joaquim B. Cavalcante-Neto
  • Luiz Fernando Martha
Original Article


This paper introduces a methodology for creating geometrically consistent subsurface simulation models, and subsequently tetrahedral finite element (FE) meshes, from geometric entities generated in gOcad software. Subsurface simulation models have an intrinsic heterogeneous characteristic due to the different geomechanics properties of each geological layer. This type of modeling should represent geometry of natural objects, such as geological horizons and faults, which have faceted representations. In addition, in subsurface simulation modeling, lower-dimension degenerated parts, such as dangling surfaces, should be represented. These requirements pose complex modeling problems, which, in general, are not treated by a generic geometric modeler. Therefore, this paper describes four important modeling capabilities that are implemented in a subsurface simulation modeler: surface re-triangulation, surface intersection, automatic volume recognition, and tetrahedral mesh generation. Surface re-triangulation is used for regenerating the underlying geometric support of surfaces imported from gOcad and of surface patches resulting from intersection. The same re-triangulation algorithm is used for generating FE surface meshes. The proposed modeling methodology combines, with some adaptation, meshing algorithms previously published by the authors. Two novel techniques are presented, the first for surface intersection and the second for automatic volume recognition. The main contribution of the present work is the integration of such techniques through a methodology for the solution of mesh generation problems in subsurface simulation modeling. An example illustrates the capabilities of the proposed methodology. Shape quality of generated triangular surface and tetrahedral meshes, as well as the efficiency of the 3D mesh generator, is demonstrated by means of this example.


Geometric modeling Subsurface modeling Mesh generation Surface intersection Finite elements 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Antonio Carlos de Oliveira Miranda
    • 1
  • William Wagner Matos Lira
    • 2
  • Ricardo Cavalcanti Marques
    • 3
  • Andre Maues Brabo Pereira
    • 4
  • Joaquim B. Cavalcante-Neto
    • 5
  • Luiz Fernando Martha
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of BrasíliaBrasiliaBrazil
  2. 2.Laboratory of Scientific Computing and Visualization-LCCV, Technology CenterFederal University of AlagoasMaceioBrazil
  3. 3.Department of Civil Engineering and Tecgraf - Technical-Scientific Software Development InstitutePontifical Catholic University of Rio de JaneiroRio de JaneiroBrazil
  4. 4.Engineering SchoolFluminense Federal UniversityNiteróiBrazil
  5. 5.Department of ComputingFederal University of CearáFortalezaBrazil

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