Design and Analysis of Multi-Fidelity Finite Element Simulations


The numerical accuracy of Finite Element Analysis (FEA) depends on the number of finite elements used in the discretization of the space, which can be varied using the mesh size. The larger the number of elements, the more accurate the results are. However, the computational cost increases with the number of elements. In current practice, the experimenter chooses a mesh size that is expected to produce a reasonably accurate result, and for which the computer simulation can be completed in a reasonable amount of time. Improvements to this approach have been proposed using multi-fidelity modeling by choosing two or three mesh sizes. However, mesh size is a continuous parameter and therefore, multi-fidelity simulations can be performed easily by choosing a different value for the mesh size for each of the simulations. In this article, we develop a method to optimally find the mesh sizes for each simulation and satisfy the same time constraints as a single or double mesh size experiment. A range of different mesh sizes used in the proposed method allows one to fit multi-fidelity models more reliably and predict the outcome when meshes approach infinitesimally small, which is impossible to achieve in actual simulations. We illustrate our approach using an analytical function and a cantilever beam finite element analysis experiment.

ASME Journal of Mechanical Design