Numerical study of radial basis function interpolation for data transfer across discontinuous mesh interfaces

Will J Costin, Christian B Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Allowing discontinuous or non-matching mesh spacing across zonal interfaces within a computational domain offers many advantages, particularly in terms of easing the mesh generation process, reduction of required mesh densities, and relative motion between mesh zones. This paper presents a numerical study of a universal method for interpolating solution data across such interfaces. The method utilises radial basis functions (RBFs) for n-dimensional volume interpolation, and treats the available solution data points simply as arbitrary clouds of points, eliminating all connectivity requirements and making it applicable to a wide range of computational problems. Properties of the developed meshless interface interpolation are investigated using analytic functions, and three issues are considered: the achievable order of spatial accuracy of the RBF interpolation alone and comparison with a variable order polynomial; the effect of a combined RBF and polynomial interpolation; and the ability of the method to recover frequency content. RBF interpolation alone is shown to achieve fourth-order to sixth-order spatial accuracy in one and two dimensions, and in three dimensions, using a small number of data points, third-order and above is achievable even for a 3 : 1 discontinuous cell spacing ratio, that is a 27 : 1 volume ratio, across the interface. Hence, it is inefficient to include polynomial terms, since improving on the RBF spatial accuracy results in a significant increase in the system size and deterioration in conditioning. It is also shown that only five points per wavelength are required to capture both frequency and amplitude content of periodic solutions to less than 0.01% error.Copyright (c) 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1076-1095
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal for Numerical Methods in Fluids
Issue number10
Early online date15 Feb 2013
Publication statusPublished - 10 Aug 2013


  • radial basis functions
  • RBF
  • meshless interpolation
  • spatial order
  • Fourier
  • convergence
  • zone
  • boundary
  • mesh interface

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