Relation oriented modeling approaches are proposed to design heterogeneous objects. The heterogeneous object modeling process is viewed as representing and manipulating complex geometrical, topological and material variation relations with proper data structures. Linear list structure, hierarchical tree structures and more general graph structures are used to represent complex heterogeneous objects. The powerful non-manifold cellular representation and the hierarchical heterogeneous feature tree representation are combined to model complex objects with simultaneous geometry intricacies and compound material variations. We demonstrate that relations play critical roles in heterogeneous object design and under the relation oriented framework, heterogeneous objects can be modeled with generic, uniform representations. The proposed relation oriented modeling approaches are tested with a prototype heterogeneous CAD modeler and presented with different types of heterogeneous object examples.

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