# research

## 2. Is a mesh required in meshfree methods?

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In meshfree (this is more in vogue than the term meshless) methods, two key steps need to be mentioned: (A) construction of the trial and test approximations; and (B) numerical evaluation of the weak form (Galerkin or Rayleigh-Ritz procedure) integrals, which lead to a linear system of equations (Kd = f). In meshfree Galerkin methods, the main departure from FEM is in (A): meshfree approximation schemes (linear combination of basis functions) are constructed independent of an underlying mesh (union of elements).

However, since a Galerkin method is typically used in solid mechanics applications, (B) arises and the weak form integrals need to be evaluated. Three main directions have been pursued to evaluate these integrals:

## 1. If I have meshfree shape functions that satisfy Kronecker-Delta, can I satisfy essential boundary conditions?

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In fact, this is a common misconception with meshfree methods. Shape functions that satisfy Kronecker-Delta take a value of one at the node, and vanish at every other node in the domain. Finite element shape functions, for example, are usually designed with this property. This makes the satisfaction of essential boundary conditions relatively simple: we just set or fix the degree of freedom at the node to what it should be on the boundary. Unfortunately, this is usually not sufficient to impose essential boundary conditions with meshfree methods.

The issue is that meshfree shape functions associated with nodes located on the interior of the domain do not typically vanish on the boundary. So, what happens between nodes is just as important as what happens at the nodes. An excellent paper discussing the various options for imposing essential boundary conditions with meshfree methods is provided by Fernandez-Mendez and Huerta, Computer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering, 193, pp. 1257-1275, 2004. At present, Nitsche's method is accepted as being the most robust for essential boundary conditions with meshfree methods. It should also be noted that with Natural-Neighbor interpolants, this is not an issue and the boundary conditions can be imposed just like they are with finite elements.

## Void-induced strain localization at interfaces

We published this paper in APL on a study of the deformation near interfaces. It provides insight in the strain localization at the interface and its influence on the deformation in bulk metals.

Abstract An optical full-field strain mapping technique has been used to provide direct evidence for the existence of a highly localized strain at the interface of stacked Nb/Nb bilayers during the compression tests loaded normal to the interface. No such strain localization is found in the bulk Nb away from the interface. The strain localization at the interfaces is due to a high void fraction resulting from the rough surfaces of Nb in contact, which prevents the extension of deformation bands in bulk Nb crossing the interface, while no distinguished feature from the stress-strain curve is detected.

## Microstructural evolution in elastically inhomogeneous systems

I am very happy to be part of iMechanica, and what best way to start than post some stuff that I have been doing recently. I received my PhD for a thesis I submitted to the Department of Materials Engineering (formerly Department of Metallurgy), Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore 560012 INDIA titled Elastic Inhomgeneity Effects on microstructures: a phase field study.

A mismatch in elastic moduli is the primary driving force for certain microstructural changes; for example, such a mismatch can result in rafting, phase inversion, and thin film instability.

My thesis is based on a phase field model, which is developed for the study of microstructural evolution in elastically inhomogeneous systems which evolve under prescribed traction boundary conditions; however, we show that it is also capable of simulating systems which are evolving under prescribed displacements.

The (iterative) Fourier based methodology that we adopt for the solution of the equation of mechanical equilibrium is characterised by comparing our numerical elastic solutions with corresponding analytical sharp interface results; in addition to being accurate, this solution methodology is also very efficient. We integrate this solution methodology into our phase field model, to study microstructural evolution in systems with dilatational misfit.

## On the solution to time-dependent Ginzburg-Laudau (TDGL) equation

Time-dependent Ginzburg-Laudau (TDGL) equation is the simplest kinetic equation for the temporal evolution of a continuum field, which assumes that the rate of evolution of the field is linearly proportional to the thermodynamical driving force. The computation model based on this equation is also called phase field model. Phase field simulation can predict quite beautiful patterns of microstructures of material. It has been widely applied to simulating the evolution of microstructure by choosing different field variables. For example, using the single conserved field (concentration field), continuum phase field models has been employed to describe the pattern formation in phase-separating alloys (Nishimori and Onuki, 1990 Phys. Rev. B, 42,980) and the nanoscale pattern formation of an epitaxial monolayer (Lu and Suo, 2001 J. Mech. Phys. Solids, 49,1937). On the other hand, using the nonconserved field (polarization field), the phase field model has been utilized to simulating the formation of domain structure in ferroelectrics (Li et al. 2002  Acta Mater, 50,395). The thermodynamical driving force is usually nonlinear with respect to the field variable. In the case of nonlinearity, the solution to TDGL equation may not be unique. Different grid density, length of iteration step, initial state and random term (introduced to describe the nucleation process) may induce different results in the simulation. Does anyone investigate the effect of these factors on the final pattern? I wonder whether we can prove the solution is unique or not.

## Cross-section TEM micrograph of a NiTi crystal in a partially crystallized film

This micrograph indicates the nulceation and growth mechanism in the crystallization of amorphous near-equiatomic NiTi films. The crystal nucleates homogenously inside the bulk of the film, and quickly consume most of the film thickness, and then grows laterally in a two-dimensional growth mode. Heterogeneous nucleation at an interface was not observed due to the composition shift at those locations caused by interfacial reaction.

## New Hot Paper Comment by George M. Pharr

I came across this page and think it may be of interest to mechanicians.