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Galerkin and LSFEM

The Rayleigh-Ritz finite element method, which is based on the principle of minimum potential energy, has proved to be extremely successful and become a dominating computational technique in

solid mechanics, heat transfer and static electromagnetics.

Because the Rayleigh-Ritz method is applicable only for equations with self-adjoint operators, the Galerkin method, which is based on

the principle of virtual work or the weighted residual form, has been much emphasized since the early 1970s and considered a universal approach to construction of finite element schemes.

However, attempts to apply the Galerkin method to non-self-adjoint equations in fluid dynamics and other transport problems encounter serious difficulties, including oscillations and instabilities of the

solution and poor approximation of its derivatives.

The least-squares finite element method (LSFEM) based on simply minimizing the L2 norm of the residuals of a first-order system of

differential equations promises to eliminate these drawbacks, and is receiving increasing attention.

The basic idea of the least-squares method for numerical solution of differential equations is well known.

However, the true power of the LSFEM has not been exploited until quite recently.

The objective of this book is to provide a comprehensive introduction to the LSFEM including its theory and applications

Why Finite Elements?

In engineering practice one often modifies the original design to satisfy different requirements.

According to the underlining variational principle, the finite element method can be classified into three major groups: the Rayleigh-Ritz method, the Galerkin method and the least-squares method.

The Rayleigh-Ritz method seeks to minimize the total potential energy, and hence the numerical solution of the Rayleigh-Ritz finite

element method possesses the best approximation property.

That is, the difference between the finite element solution and the exact solution is minimized with respect to a certain energy norm.

Moreover, the Rayleigh-Ritz finite element method leads to symmetric and positive-definite systems of linear algebraic equations. This formulation has proven eminently successful in application to

problems in solid mechanics and in other situations, such as heat conduction, governed by self-adjoint, second- or fourth-order elliptic

diffusion-type equations.

In fact, today, most widely used commercial finite element codes in engineering analysis are based on the Rayleigh-Ritz method.

Equations 1.1a &1.1b

The Galerkin method is based on the weighted residual form. To illustrate the basic idea of the Galerkin method, we consider a mathematical problem defined by a set of partial differential equations in the form

Equations 1.1a &1.1b • The Galerkin method is based on the weighted residual form. • To

where A is the linear differential operator, B is the boundary operator,

u is the dependent unknown vector, f is the force vector,

domain, and

Equations 1.1a &1.1b • The Galerkin method is based on the weighted residual form. • To

is the boundary of

Equations 1.1a &1.1b • The Galerkin method is based on the weighted residual form. • To

.

Equations 1.1a &1.1b • The Galerkin method is based on the weighted residual form. • To

is the

Approximation process of the weighed residual method

Equations 2&3

The approximation process of the weighed residual method can be written as follows.

First, the function is approximated by a set of unknown parameters u j and trial (basis) functions φ j (x), where the vector x stands for the independent variables,

Approximation process of the weighed residual method Equations 2&3 • The approximation process of the weighed

Second, the algebraic equation permitting a numerical solution is formed as a "weighted residual" ,

Approximation process of the weighed residual method Equations 2&3 • The approximation process of the weighed

where v i and v i are "suitably chosen" test functions, and T denotes the transpose.

Conventional Galerkin method-Equation.4

Least-squares finite element method (LSFEM)

In the conventional Galerkin method, the choice is

Conventional Galerkin method-Equation.4 Least-squares finite element method (LSFEM) • In the conventional Galerkin method, the choice

It is the genral opinion that for non-self-adjoint systems, such as arise in fluid mechanics and electromagnetics, the application of the least-

squares finite element method (LSFEM) is the right direction to go.

Least-squares finite element method (LSFEM)

Equations 5&6

The LSFEM is based on the minimization of the residuals in a least squares sense. The method seeks the minimizer of the following functional within the constraint of a given boundary

condition (1.1b).

Least-squares finite element method (LSFEM) Equations 5&6 • The LSFEM is based on the minimization of

That is, the least squares solution is calculated from the following variational

statement:

Least-squares finite element method (LSFEM) Equations 5&6 • The LSFEM is based on the minimization of

In contrast to the Galerkin formulation (equation.3) which is only conceptual without much practical meaning and thus in most cases needs further problem dependent mathematical manipulation in

order to obtain a realistic computational formulation for a particular problem, the least-squares formulation, (equation.6), is a final mathematical as well as computational formulation for any problem. Although the LSFEM formulation is simple, it offers significant merits.

In summary, the least-squares method provides not only a powerful technique for numerical solution but also a useful tool for theoretical analysis of partial differential equations.

The LSFEM is a simple and universal method.

In the LSFEM there is nothing beyond the finite element interpolation and the least-squares principle.

The basic features of finite element methodology and the attractive advantages of the least-squares method represent the most desirable properties of any

numerical scheme designed to handle real-world problems.

For these reasons, we believe that the LSFEM will play an important role in computational engineering and science in the twenty first century.