HowTo: Use periodic meshes and enforce periodic boundary conditions

In order to solve a problem with periodic boundary conditions, the Mesh object should have a periodic topology. This can be achieved in one of two ways:

  1. By reading a periodic mesh from disk.
  2. By identifying periodic vertices (e.g. through a translation vector), and then creating a new periodic mesh.

Reading a periodic mesh from disk

MFEM supports reading periodic meshes from a variety of mesh file formats. Several periodic sample meshes are included with MFEM in the data directory:

MFEM format:

Gmsh format (the corresponding .geo files are also included):

Any of these meshes can be loaded as usual using MFEM (e.g. using the -m flag in the MFEM examples), and the periodic topology will be automatically handled.

(Note that some periodic boundaries (such as periodic-cube.mesh) contain so-called "internal boundary elements", which may result in boundary conditions being enforced for some examples.)

Example 0 on Periodic Annulus Example 0 on Periodic Torus

Creating a periodic mesh by identifying vertices

MFEM can also create periodic meshes from non-periodic meshes by identifying periodic vertices. The function Mesh::MakePeriodic creates a periodic mesh from a non-periodic mesh given such a vertex identification. For example, if we wish to create a periodic line segment, then we would like to identify the two endpoints of the line segment since they represent the same point in the periodic topology. An example of creating this vertex mapping in the case of a line segment is described here.

It is often more convenient to describe the periodicity constraints in terms of translation vectors. Any two vertices that are coincident under any of the given translation vectors will be considered topologically identical. MFEM can generate a vertex mapping from these translation vectors using the Mesh::CreatePeriodicVertexMapping. An example using this functionality to create a mesh of the periodic square is shown here.

Example: creating a periodic line segment with a vertex map

Mesh mesh = Mesh::MakeCartesian1D(10);// Make a mesh of the unit interval with 10 elements
// Create the vertex mapping. To begin, create the identity mapping.
std::vector<int> v2v(mesh.GetNV());
for (int i = 0; i < mesh.GetNV(); ++i)
   v2v[i] = i;
// Modify the mapping so that the last vertex gets mapped to the first vertex.
v2v.back() = 0;
Mesh periodic_mesh = Mesh::MakePeriodic(mesh, v2v); // Create the periodic mesh

Example: creating a periodic square with translation vectors

// Create a 10x10 quad mesh of the unit square;
Mesh mesh = Mesh::MakeCartesian2D(10, 10, Element::QUADRILATERAL);
// Create translation vectors defining the periodicity
Vector x_translation({1.0, 0.0});
Vector y_translation({0.0, 1.0});
std::vector<Vector> translations = {x_translation, y_translation};
// Create the periodic mesh using the vertex mapping defined by the translation vectors
Mesh periodic_mesh = Mesh::MakePeriodic(mesh, mesh.CreatePeriodicVertexMapping(translations));