H-Morph: An indirect approach to advancing front hex meshing

Steven J. Owen, Sunil Saigal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


H-Morph is a new automatic algorithm for the generation of a hexahedral-dominant finite element mesh for arbitrary volumes. The H-Morph method starts with an initial tetrahedral mesh and systematically transforms and combines tetrahedra into hexahedra. It uses an advancing front technique where the initial front consists of a set of prescribed quadrilateral surface facets. Fronts arc individually processed by recovering each of the six quadrilateral faces of a hexahedron from the tetrahedral mesh. Recovery techniques similar to those used in boundary constrained Delaunay mesh generation are used. Tetrahedra internal to the six hexahedral faces are then removed and a hexahedron is formed. At any time during the H-Morph procedure a valid mixed hexahedral-tetrahedral mesh is in existence within the volume. The procedure continues until no tetrahedra remain within the volume, or tetrahedra remain which cannot be transformed or combined into valid hexahedral elements. Any remaining tetrahedra are typically towards the interior of the volume, generally a less critical region for analysis. Transition from tetrahedra to hexahedra in the final mesh is accomplished through pyramid-shaped elements. Advantages of the proposed method include its ability to conform to an existing quadrilateral surface mesh, its ability to mesh without the need to decompose or recognize special classes of geometry, and its characteristic well-aligned layers of elements parallel to the boundary. Example test cases are presented on a variety of models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)289-312
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal for Numerical Methods in Engineering
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Sep 10 2000
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Numerical Analysis
  • General Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


  • Advancing front
  • Hex-dominant
  • Hexahedron
  • Mesh generation


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