3D Reality-Based Survey and Retopology for Structural Analysis of Cultural Heritage

Sensors (Basel). 2022 Dec 7;22(24):9593. doi: 10.3390/s22249593.


Cultural heritage's structural changes and damages can influence the mechanical behaviour of artefacts and buildings. The use of finite element methods (FEM) for mechanical analysis is largely used in modelling stress behaviour. The workflow involves the use of CAD 3D models and the use of non-uniform rational B-spline (NURBS) surfaces. For cultural heritage objects, altered by the time elapsed since their creation, the representation created with the CAD model may introduce an extreme level of approximation, leading to wrong simulation results. The focus of this work is to present an alternative method intending to generate the most accurate 3D representation of a real artefact from highly accurate 3D reality-based models, simplifying the original models to make them suitable for finite element analysis (FEA) software. The approach proposed, and tested on three different case studies, was based on the intelligent use of retopology procedures to create a simplified model to be converted to a mathematical one made by NURBS surfaces, which is also suitable for being processed by volumetric meshes typically embedded in standard FEM packages. This allowed us to obtain FEA results that were closer to the actual mechanical behaviour of the analysed heritage asset.

Keywords: 3D modelling; 3D survey; FEA; NURBS; convergence analysis; retopology.

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.