We present a novel automatic grid generator for the finite element discretization of partial differential equations in 3D. The grids constructed by this grid generator are composed of a pure tensor product grid in the interior of the domain and an unstructured grid which is only contained in boundary cells. The unstructured component consists of tetrahedra, each of which satisfies a maximal interior angle condition. By suitable constructing the boundary cells, the number of types of boundary subcells is reduced to 12 types. Since this grid generator constructs large structured grids in the interior and small unstructured grids near the boundary, the resulting semi-unstructured grids have similar properties as structured tensor product grids. Some appealing properties of this method are computational efficiency and natural construction of coarse grids for multilevel algorithms. Numerical results and an analysis of the discretization error are presented.
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