Advances in a posteriori error estimation on anisotropic finite element discretizations

Gerd Kunert

ISBN 978-3-8325-0450-2
pages, year of publication: 2004
price: 40.50 €
Certain classes of partial differential equations generically give rise to solutions with strong directional features, e.g. with boundary layers. Such solutions are called anisotropic. Their discretization by means of the finite element method (for example) can favourably employ so-called anisotropic meshes. These meshes are characterized by stretched, anisotropic finite elements with a (very) large stretching ratio.

The widespread use of computer simulation leads to an increasing demand for semi- or fully automatic solution procedures. Within such self-adaptive algorithms, a posteriori error estimators form an indispensable ingredient for quality control. They are well understood for standard, isotropic discretizations.

The knowledge about a posteriori error estimation on anisotropic meshes is much less mature. During the last decade the foundation and basic principles have been proposed, discussed and established, mostly for the Poisson problem. This monograph summarises some of the recent advances in anisotropic error estimation for more challenging problems. Emphasis is given to the contributions of the author.

In Chapter 3 the investigation starts with singularly perturbed reaction diffusion problems which frequently lead to solutions with boundary layers. This problem class often arises when simplifying more complex models. Chapter 4 treats singularly perturbed convection diffusion problems, i.e. the convection is dominating. The solution structure is more intricate, and often features boundary layer and/or interior layer solutions. Chapter 5 is devoted to the Stokes equations. Flow problems generically give rise to anisotropic solutions (e.g. with edge singularities or containing layers). The Stokes equations often serve as a simplified or linearised model. In all three chapters, the main results consist in error estimators and corresponding error bounds that are robust with respect to the mesh anisotropy, as far as possible.

Finally Chapter 6 addresses the robustness of a posteriori error estimation with respect to the mesh anisotropy. In particular the relation between anisotropic mesh construction and error estimation is investigated.

This thesis presents the philosophy of anisotropic error estimation as well as the main results and the definitions required. Proofs and technical details are omitted; instead the key ideas are explained. The compact style of presentation aims at practitioners in particular by providing easily accessible error estimators and error bounds. Further insight is readily possible through the references.

  • error estimation
  • anisotropic solution
  • singularly perturbed problems
  • Stokes problem
  • adaptive algorithm


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