Methods for feature-based design of heterogeneous solids

H. Liu, T. Maekawa, N. M. Patrikalakis*, E. M. Sachs, W. Cho

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents a parametric and feature-based methodology for the design of solids with local composition control (LCC). A suite of composition design features are conceptualized and implemented. The designer can use them singly or in combination, to specify the composition of complex components. Each material composition design feature relates directly to the geometry of the design, often relying on user interaction to specify critical aspects of the geometry. This approach allows the designer to simultaneously edit geometry and composition by varying parameters until a satisfactory result is attained. The identified LCC features are those based on volume, transition, pattern, and (user-defined) surface features. The material composition functions include functions parametrized with respect to distance or distances to user-defined geometric features; and functions that use Laplace's equation to blend smoothly various boundary conditions including values and gradients of the material composition on the boundaries. The Euclidean digital distance transform and the Boundary Element Method are adapted to the efficient computation of composition functions. Theoretical and experimental complexity, accuracy and convergence analyses are presented. The representations underlying the composition design features are analytic in nature and therefore concise. Evaluation for visualization and fabrication is performed only at the resolutions required for these purposes, thereby reducing the computational burden.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1141-1159
Number of pages19
JournalCAD Computer Aided Design
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2004 Oct
Externally publishedYes


  • Functionally graded materials
  • Local composition control
  • Solid free-form fabrication
  • Three-dimensional printing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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