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Finite Element Decomposition and Minimal Extension for Flow Equations

Altmann, Robert; Heiland, Jan

Inst. Mathematik

In the simulation of flows, the correct treatment of the pressure variable is the key to stable time-integration schemes. This paper contributes a new approach based on the theory of differential-algebraic equations. Motivated by the index reduction technique of minimal extension, a decomposition of finite element spaces is proposed that ensures stable and accurate approximations. The presented decomposition -- for standard finite element spaces used in CFD -- preserves sparsity and does not call on variable transformations which might change the meaning of the variables. Since the method is eventually an index reduction, high index effects leading to instabilities are eliminated. As a result, all constraints are maintained and one can apply semi-explicit time integration schemes.