In common simulation workflows, the preprocessing step consisting of mesh generation and adaption is very time consuming. MESHFREE follows an innovative point cloud approach, avoiding meshes, and thus enabling engineers to design their products much faster.

Benefit & added value

A general continuum mechanics approach is the basis for models of a vast variety of nonlinear physical phenomena such as non-Newtonian fluids and other complex materials. Hence, MESHFREE simulations can cover a wide range of applications such as water management, avalanches, foam formation, metal cutting, sophisticated fluid-structure interactions and many more.

In contrast to classical mesh-based approaches, MESHFREE uses an automatically managed point cloud that adapts itself efficiently to the simulation domain – even if the simulation domain changes rapidly due to moving geometries or large deformations.

MESHFREE is a powerful simulation tool for:

  • fluid dynamics
  • continuum mechanics
  • multiphase scenarios
Developed by

Fraunhofer ITWM

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Advantages & Features

The unique features of MESHFREE enable numerical simulation of scenarios that are currently completely out of reach of other simulation tools: Simulating a water-crossing car or turbine abrasion. Additionally, the computation can be faster in scenarios that are difficult for mesh-based methods such as free surface flows.

  • MESHFREE is fully MPI parallelized and scales well on clusters (shared and distributed).

  • MESHFREE internally uses SAMG – a powerful library for solving the linear systems of equations based on algebraic multigrid technology.

  • MESHFREE is already in productive operation for a wide range of applications. A comprehensive scripting language allows for full flexibility in building new applications and fully automated workflows.

  • MESHFREE is not a static software. It is under continuous development by Fraunhofer’s experts to ensure its status as cutting edge software. The team adds new features and keeps the numerical methods up to date with the latest research results.

Application areas


Problems in the automotive industry have been in the focus of MESHFREE’s development for years. With virtualization in the early stages of design, problems can be avoided and design aspects optimized long before the first expensive prototype is built.

MESHFREE successfully simulates a wide range of automotive applications, such as water crossing and water management, fuel filling and sloshing, interactions with soil and sand during a crash as well as transmission components.

Hydro Power

In this field of application, we are currently engaged in impulse type turbines, so-called Pelton turbines. The need for simulations arises due to challenges concerning the modernization process of existing plants.

In order to evaluate design changes to optimize for long lasting efficiency, virtualization promises great potential for speeding up the development process. Simulation is a great tool for predicting the fluid flow, formation of water sheets and material stress – long before a prototype is built.

Manufacturing Engineering

Process virtualization in manufacturing engineering provides valuable tools for engineers as they gain important insights into their processes long before the first tool is actually built.

It is a challenging task to model the processes appropriately. Classical mesh-based methods, such as Finite Element Methods (FEM), are very suitable to simulate structural mechanical properties of the workpiece; but they require high efforts for 3D meshing and coupling – if it is even possible – to model dynamical manufacturing processes. This is relevant, for example, when large deformations or cooling fluids are involved.

Chemical Engineering

In chemical engineering, the efficient use of chemistry, physics, mathematics, and economics is the key to a successful design of complex and large-scale production chains. Detailed process knowledge can unlock hidden potentials in an existing production chain or plant design.

With MESHFREE, we offer a virtualization tool able to generate detailed knowledge of individual process steps governed by fluid dynamical and thermo-dynamical phenomena through simulation. Also, Non-Newtonian fluids can be considered.

Natural Hazards

Natural hazards and emergency management are very important topics in the face of climate change. Preventive measures as well as necessary plans for evacuation can be supported and optimized by virtualization and simulation of the respective processes. MESHFREE specializes on the simulation of continuum mechanical phenomena such as:

  • Free surfaces: dam breaks and floodings
  • Multiphase scenarios: avalanches and debris flow
  • Fluid-Structure-Interaction (FSI): floating bridges

Food Industry

When designing processes for the food industry, the following performance parameters may be taken into account: Energy efficiency of the process, Minimization of product defects, Minimization of waste, Efficient cleaning processes.

For overall performance optimization, a detailed understanding of the individual processes is essential to unlock hidden potentials. Virtual modeling of these individual processes can be performed already at an early planning stage leading to design proposals or in an existing production chain to optimize process parameters.

Medicine and Health

The progress of medicine during the last decade is strongly influenced by virtualization of the occurring processes. By now, simulations of surgical procedures or digital treatment planning are well-established. MESHFREE is able to further support the virtualization of medical and biological processes in different aspects:

  • Fluid-Structure-Interaction (FSI): flow in flexible structure
  • Complex material behavior: from Newtonian to Non-Newtonian fluids
  • Multiphase scenarios: coupling of fluid and discrete phases

References & Partners

  • Audi AG
  • Bertrandt AG
  • ESI Group
  • General Dynamics European Land Systems – Germany GmbH
  • Hilite Germany GmbH
  • IAV GmbH
  • Porsche AG
  • Volkswagen AG
  • Voith Hydro Holding GmbH & Co. KG

Comparison of MESHFREE to Mesh-Based

Aspect Mesh-based Method MESHFREE
Preparing a 3D Simulation 3D meshing. High quality mesh software needed Requires 2D surface mesh only. MESHFREE automatically fills the computation domain with the point cloud.
Free Surface Flows e.g. Volume-of-fluid, computation of full domain In MESHFREE, only the part of the simulation domain that is filled with the fluid needs to be computed yielding a computational advantage.
Rapidly Moving Geometries Remeshing (potentially computational expensive) The point cloud automatically adapts to the changing fluid domain. Full flexibility regarding changing topologies.
Local Refinement Remeshing (potentially computational expensive) Also full flexibility for local refinement – even while you are computing the simulation with our computational steering feature!
Interpretation of Results Postprocessing The points of the point cloud move with the velocity of the fluid. This yields a very intuitive way to visualize and interpret the computational results.