Order parameter re-mapping algorithm for 3D phase field model of grain growth using FEM

Cody J. Permann, Michael R. Tonks, Bradley Fromm, Derek R. Gaston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Phase field modeling (PFM) is a well-known technique for simulating microstructural evolution. To model grain growth using PFM, typically each grain is assigned a unique non-conserved order parameter and each order parameter field is evolved in time. Traditional approaches using a one-to-one mapping of grains to order parameters present a challenge when modeling large numbers of grains due to the computational expense of using many order parameters. This problem is exacerbated when using an implicit finite element method (FEM), as the global matrix size is proportional to the number of order parameters. While previous work has developed methods to reduce the number of required variables and thus computational complexity and run time, none of the existing approaches can be applied for an implicit FEM implementation of PFM. Here, we present a modular, dynamic, scalable reassignment algorithm suitable for use in such a system. Polycrystal modeling with grain growth and stress require careful tracking of each grain's position and orientation which is lost when using a reduced order parameter set. The method presented in this paper maintains a unique ID for each grain even after reassignment, to allow the PFM to be tightly coupled to calculations of the stress throughout the polycrystal. Implementation details and comparative results of our approach are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-25
Number of pages8
JournalComputational Materials Science
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Computer Science
  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Computational Mathematics


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