Date of Award


Access Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering


Mechanical Engineering

Committee Chair

Eduardo Divo, Ph.D.

First Committee Member

Sandra K. Boetcher, Ph.D.

Second Committee Member

Jeff Brown, Ph.D.


A novel computational tool based in the Localized Radial-basis Function (RBF) Collocation (LRC) Meshless method coupled with a Volume-of-Fluid (VoF) scheme capable of accurately and efficiently solving transient multi-dimensional heat conduction problems in composite and heterogeneous media is formulated and implemented. While the LRC Meshless method lends its inherent advantages of spectral convergence and ease of automation, the VoF scheme allows to effectively and efficiently simulate the location, size, and shape of cavities, voids, inclusions, defects, or de-attachments in the conducting media without the need to regenerate point distributions, boundaries, or interpolation matrices. To this end, the Inverse Geometric problem of Cavity Detection can be formulated as an optimization problem that minimizes an objective function that computes the deviation of measured temperatures at accessible locations to those generated by the LRC-VoF Meshless method. The LRC-VoF Meshless algorithms will be driven by an optimization code based on the Genetic Algorithms technique which can efficiently search for the optimal set of design parameters (location size, shape, etc.) within a predefined design space. Initial guesses to the search algorithm will be provided by the classical 1D semi-infinite composite analytical solution which can predict the approximate location of the cavity. The LRC-VoF formulation is tested and validated through a series of controlled numerical experiments. This approach will allow solving the onerous computational inverse problem in a very efficient and robust manner while affording its implementation in modest computational platforms, thereby realizing the disruptive potential of the multi-dimensional high-fidelity non-destructive evaluation (NDE) method.