On a reduced sparsity stabilization of grad-div type for incompressible flow problems
We introduce a new operator for stabilizing error that arises from the weak enforcement of mass conservation in finite element simulations of incompressible flow problems. We show this new operator has a similar positive effect on velocity error as the well-known and very successful grad-div stabilization operator, but the new operator is more attractive from an implementation standpoint because it yields a sparser block structure matrix. That is, while grad-div produces fully coupled block matrices (i.e. block-full), the matrices arising from the new operator are block-upper triangular in two dimensions, and in three dimensions the 2,1 and 3,1 blocks are empty. Moreover, the diagonal blocks of the new operators matrices are identical to those of grad-div. We provide error estimates and numerical examples for finite element simulations with the new operator, which reveals the significant improvement in accuracy it can provide. Solutions found using the new operator are also compared to those using usual grad-div stabilization, and in all cases, solutions are found to be very similar.