Skip to navigation Skip to content
Careers | Phone Book | A - Z Index
Mathematics Group

DistMesh: High-Quality Unstructured Mesh Generation for Implicit Geometries

DistMesh is a simple MATLAB code for generation of unstructured triangular and tetrahedral meshes. The geometries are specified by implicit functions, with negative sign inside the region and positive outside. DistMesh uses the Delaunay triangulation routine in MATLAB and tries to optimize the node locations by a force-based smoothing procedure. The topology is regularly updated by Delaunay. The boundary points are only allowed to move tangentially to the boundary by projections using the implicit function. This iterative procedure typically results in very well-shaped meshes.

The importance of good unstructured mesh generators cannot be overstated. Essentially every finite element software package used in industry and academia is based on the efficient generation of meshes directly from CAD geometries, with applications in areas such as solid mechanics, fluid dynamics, electromagnetics, etc. The high impact of DistMesh is primarily due to (1) its ability to handle implicit geometries, which allows for meshing of MRI/CT images and connections to the level set method, (2) the high-quality of the mesh elements, which is particularly important to avoid inversion with moving and deforming meshes, and (3) the simplicity of the method, which has an educational benefit and has inspired a large number of researchers and engineers to make improvements to the algorithm.



DistMesh is widely used in many different fields---the original paper has been cited by 162 journal articles, it has been rewritten by independent developers in a number of other languages, including C, C++, C#, Fortran 77/90, Python, Mathematica, Octave, and it is being used in many computational books and university courses.

About Berkeley Lab

Founded in 1931 on the belief that the biggest scientific challenges are best addressed by teams, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and its scientists have been recognized with 14 Nobel Prizes. Today, Berkeley Lab researchers develop sustainable energy and environmental solutions, create useful new materials, advance the frontiers of computing, and probe the mysteries of life, matter, and the universe. Scientists from around the world rely on the Lab’s facilities for their own discovery science. Berkeley Lab is a multiprogram national laboratory, managed by the University of California for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

DOE’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit