7 Fields

7.3 Mesh fields

A mesh field specifies scalar or vector values for the features of an FEM mesh. These can be either the vertices (vertex fields) or faces (face fields). Mesh fields have been introduced in particular to allow properties of contact force behaviors (Section 8.7.2), such as LinearElasticContact, to vary over the contact mesh. Mesh fields can currently be defined only for triangular polyhedral meshes.

To evaluate getValue(p) at an arbitrary point {\bf p}, the field finds the mesh face nearest to {\bf p}, and then either interpolates the value from the surrounding vertices (vertex fields) or uses the face value directly (face fields).

Mesh fields make use of the classes PolygonalMesh, Vertex3d, and Face, defined in the package maspack.geometry. They maintain a default value which describes the value at features for which values are not explicitly set. If unspecified, the default value itself is zero.

In the remainder of this section, it is assumed that vector fields are constructed using fixed-size vectors or matrices, such as Vector3d or Matrix3d. However, it is also possible to construct fields using VectorNd or MatrixNd, with the aid of special wrapper classes, as described in Section 7.4. That section also details a convenience wrapper class for Vector3d.

The two field types are now described in detail.

7.3.1 Vertex fields

Implemented by ScalarVertexField, VectorVertexField<T>, or subclasses of the latter, vertex fields specify their values at the vertices of a mesh. They can be created with constructors such as

  // scalar fields:
  ScalarVertexField (MeshComponent mcomp)
  ScalarVertexField (MeshComponent mcomp, double defaultValue)
  ScalarVertexField (String name, MeshComponent mcomp, double defaultValue)
  // vector fields (with vector type parameterized by T):
  VectorVertexField (Class<T> type, MeshComponent mcomp)
  VectorVertexField (Class<T> type, (MeshComponent mcomp, T defaultValue)
  VectorVertexField (String name, Class<T> type, MeshComponent mcomp, T defaultValue)

where mcomp is a mesh component containing the mesh, defaultValue is the default value, and name is a component name. For vector fields, the maspack.matrix.VectorObject type is parameterized by T, and type gives its actual class type (e.g., Vector3d.class).

Once the field has been created, values can be queried and set at the vertices using methods such as

Scalar fields:
void setValue(Vertex3d vtx, double value)

Set value for vertex vtx.

double getValue(Vertex3d vtx)

Get value for vertex vtx.

double getValue(int vidx)

Get value for vertex at index vidx.

Vector fields with parameterized type T:
void setValue(Vertex3d vtx, T value)

Set value for vertex vtx.

T getValue(Vertex3d vtx)

Get value for vertex vtx.

T getValue(int vidx)

Get value for vertex at index vidx.

All fields:
boolean isValueSet(Vertex3d vtx)

Query if value set for vertex vtx.

void clearValue(Vertex3d vtx)

Unset value for vertex vtx.

void clearAllValues()

Unset values for all vertices.

Note that values don’t need to be set at all vertices, and set values can be unset using the clear methods. For vertices with no value set, getValue() will return the default value.

As a simple example, the following code fragment constructs a ScalarVertexField for a mesh contained in the MeshComponent mcomp that describes contact stiffness values at every vertex:

   MechModel mech; // containing mech model
   // instantiate the field and set values for each node:
   ScalarVertexField field = new ScalarVertexField ("stiffness", mcomp);
   // extract the mesh from the component
   PolygonalMesh mesh = (PolygonalMesh)mcomp.getMesh();
   for (Vertex3d vtx : mesh.getVertices()) {
      double stiffness = ... // compute stiffness value for the vertex
      field.setValue (vtx, stiffness);
   mech.addField (field); // add the field to the mech model

As noted earlier, mesh fields are usually stored in the fields list of a MechModel.

Another example shows the creation of a field of 3D direction vectors:

  VectorVertexField<Vector3d> field =
    new VectorVertexField<Vector3d> ("directions", Vector3d.class, mcomp);
  Vector3d dir = new Vector3d();
  for (Vertex3d vtx : mesh.getVertices()) {
     ... // compute direction and store in dir
     field.setValue (vtx, dir);

When creating a vector field, the constructor needs the class type of the field’s VectorObject. However, for the special case of Vector3d, one may also use the convenience wrapper class Vector3dVertexField, described in Section 7.4.

7.3.2 Face fields

Implemented by ScalarFaceField, VectorFaceField<T>, or subclasses of the latter, face fields specify their values at the faces of a polygonal mesh, and these values are assumed to be constant within the face. To evaluate getValue(p), the field finds the containing (or nearest) face for {\bf p}, and then returns the value for that face.

Because values are assume to be constant within each face, face fields are inherently discontinuous across face boundaries.

The constructors for face fields are analogous to those for vertex fields:

  // scalar fields:
  ScalarFaceField (MeshComponent mcomp)
  ScalarFaceField (MeshComponent mcomp, double defaultValue)
  ScalarFaceField (String name, MeshComponent mcomp, double defaultValue)
  // vector fields (with vector type parameterized by T):
  VectorFaceField (Class<T> type, MeshComponent mcomp)
  VectorFaceField (Class<T> type, (MeshComponent mcomp, T defaultValue)
  VectorFaceField (String name, Class<T> type, MeshComponent mcomp, T defaultValue)

and the methods for setting values at faces are similar as well, where fidx refers to the face index:

  // scalar fields:
  void setValue (Face face, double value)      // set value for face
  double getValue (Face face)                  // get value for face
  double getValue (int fidx)                   // get value using face index
  // vector fields:
  void setValue (Face face, T value)           // set value for face
  T getValue (Face face)                       // get value for face
  T getValue (int fidx)                        // get value using face index
  // all fields:
  boolean isValueSet (Face face)               // query if value set for face
  void clearValue (Face face)                  // unset value for face
  void clearAllValues()                        // unset values for all faces

The following code fragment constructs a VectorFaceField based on Vector2d that stores a 2D coordinate value at all faces of a mesh:

  VectorFaceField<Vector2d> field =
    new VectorFaceField<Vector2d> ("coordinates", Vector2d.class, mcomp);
  Vector2d coords = new Vector2d();
  // extract the mesh from the component
  PolygonalMesh mesh = (PolygonalMesh)mcomp.getMesh();
  for (Face face : mesh.getFaces()) {
     ... // compute coordinate values and store in coords
     field.setValue (face, coords);