The finite element and meshless methods are numerical simulation algorithms used to mathematically model physical phenomena. The finite element method relies on the creation of an underlying simplex structure in the region that is being modeled. By specifying these finite elements, a rough model can be developed that can be used to generate approximate solutions while requiring minimal processor time. The meshless method eliminates these finite elements and instead generates a dynamic model from a particle perspective using a complex matrix of integral equations to define the properties of the region being modeled. Without the limitations of the simplex structure, the model can account for large deformations, advanced materials, complex geometries, nonlinear behavior, and discontinuities. However, this utility results in a significant increase in the computational time that is require to generate a solution.
Application of these techniques extends to all areas of computational physics, engineering, and mechanics.
Although several textbooks exist on the topic of the finite element method and there are some that focus specifically on the meshless method, this is the first textbook to describe both modeling techniques in detail and evaluate their relative advantages.