On the convergence order of the finite element error in the kinetic energy for high Reynolds number incompressible flows


The kinetic energy of a flow is proportional to the square of the norm of the velocity. Given a sufficient regular velocity field and a velocity finite element space with polynomials of degree , then the best approximation error in is of order . In this survey, the available finite element error analysis for the velocity error in is reviewed, where is a final time. Since in practice the case of small viscosity coefficients or dominant convection is of particular interest, which may result in turbulent flows, robust error estimates are considered, i.e., estimates where the constant in the error bound does not depend on inverse powers of the viscosity coefficient. Methods for which robust estimates can be derived enable stable flow simulations for small viscosity coefficients on comparatively coarse grids, which is often the situation encountered in practice. To introduce stabilization techniques for the convection-dominated regime and tools used in the error analysis, evolutionary linear convection–diffusion equations are studied at the beginning. The main part of this survey considers robust finite element methods for the incompressible Navier–Stokes equations of order , , and for the velocity error in . All these methods are discussed in detail. In particular, a sketch of the proof for the error bound is given that explains the estimate of important terms which determine finally the order of convergence. Among them, there are methods for inf–sup stable pairs of finite element spaces as well as for pressure-stabilized discretizations. Numerical studies support the analytic results for several of these methods. In addition, methods are surveyed that behave in a robust way but for which only a non-robust error analysis is available. The conclusion of this survey is that the problem of whether or not there is a robust method with optimal convergence order for the kinetic energy is still open.

Convection-dominated regime, Convection–diffusion equations, Convergence of the error of the kinetic energy, Finite element methods, Incompressible Navier–Stokes equations, Robust error bounds
García-Archilla, B., John, V., & Novo, J. (2021). On the convergence order of the finite element error in the kinetic energy for high Reynolds number incompressible flows (Version publishedVersion, Vol. 385). Version publishedVersion, Vol. 385. Amsterdam [u.a.] : Elsevier Science. https://doi.org//10.1016/j.cma.2021.114032