Direct structural analysis of domains defined by point clouds

László Kudela, Stefan Kollmannsberger, Umut Almac, Ernst Rank

This contribution presents a method that aims at the numerical analysis of solids represented by oriented point clouds. The proposed approach is based on the Finite Cell Method, a high-order immersed boundary technique that computes on a regular background grid of finite elements and requires only inside-outside information from the geometric model. It is shown that oriented point clouds provide sufficient information for these point-membership classifications. Further, we address a tessellation-free formulation of contour integrals that allows to apply Neumann boundary conditions on point clouds without having to recover the underlying surface. Two-dimensional linear elastic benchmark examples demonstrate that the method is able to provide the same accuracy as those computed with conventional, continuous surface descriptions, because the associated error can be controlled by the density of the cloud. Three-dimensional examples computed on point clouds of historical structures show how the method can be employed to establish seamless connections between digital shape measurement techniques and numerical analyses.

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