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Contribution to the improvement of meshless methods applied to continuum mechanics

Abstract : This thesis introduces a general framework for the study of nodal meshless discretization schemes. Itsfundamental objects are the discrete operators defined on a point cloud : volume and boundary integration, discretegradient and reconstruction operator. These definitions endow the point cloud with a weaker structure than thatdefined by a mesh, but share several fundamental concepts with it, the most important of them being integrationdifferentiationcompatibility. Along with linear consistency of the discrete gradient, this discrete analogue of Stokes’sformula is a necessary condition to the linear consistency of weakly discretized elliptic operators. Its satisfaction, atleast in an approximate fashion, yields optimally convergent discretizations. However, building compatible discreteoperators is so difficult that we conjecture – without managing to prove it – that it either requires to solve a globallinear system, or to build a mesh. We dub this conjecture the "meshless curse". Three main approaches for theconstruction of discrete meshless operators are studied. Firstly, we propose a correction method seeking the closestcompatible gradient – in the least squares sense – that does not hurt linear consistency. In the special case ofMLS gradients, we show that the corrected gradient is globally optimal. Secondly, we adapt the SFEM approachto our meshless framework and notice that it defines first order consistent compatible operators. We propose adiscrete integration method exploiting the topological relation between cells and faces of a mesh preserving thesecharacteristics. Thirdly, we show that it is possible to generate each of the meshless operators from a nodal discretevolume integration formula. This is made possible with the exploitation of the functional dependency of nodal volumeweights with respect to node positions, the continuous underlying space and the total number of nodes. Consistencyof the operators is characterized in terms of the initial volume weights, effectively constituting guidelines for thedesign of proper integration formulae. In this framework, we re-interpret the classical stabilization methods of theSPH community as actually seeking to cancel the error on the discrete version of Stokes’s formula. The example ofSFEM operators has a volume-based equivalent, and so does its discrete mesh-based integration. Actually computingit requires a very precise description of the geometry of cells of the mesh, in particular in the case where its facesare not planar. We thus fully characterize the shape of such cells, only as a function of nodes of the mesh andtopological relations between cells, allowing unambiguous definition of their volumes and centroids. Finally, wedescribe meshless discretization schemes of elliptic partial differential equations. We propose several alternatives forthe treatment of boundary conditions with the concern of imposing as few constraints on nodes of the point cloudas possible. We give numerical results confirming the crucial importance of verifying the compatibility conditions,at least in an approximate fashion. This simple guideline systematically allows the recovery of optimal convergencerates of the studied discretizations.
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Gabriel Fougeron. Contribution to the improvement of meshless methods applied to continuum mechanics. Autre. Université Paris-Saclay, 2018. Français. ⟨NNT : 2018SACLC068⟩. ⟨tel-01968070⟩

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