Stabilized extended finite elements for the approximation of saddle point problems with unfitted interfaces


Advanced Numerical Methods for Scientific Computing
Stabilized extended finite elements for the approximation of saddle point problems with unfitted interfaces
Saturday 24th August 2013
Cattaneo, L.; Formaggia, L.; Iori G. F.; Scotti, A,; Zunino, P.
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We address a two-phase Stokes problem, namely the coupling of two fluids with different kinematic viscosities. The domain is crossed by an interface corresponding to the surface separating the two fluids. We observe that the interface conditions allow the pressure and the velocity gradients to be discontinuous across the interface. The eXtended Finite Element Method is applied to accommodate the weak discontinuity of the velocity field across the interface and the jump in pressure on computational meshes that do not fit the interface. Numerical evidence shows that the discrete pressure approximation may be unstable in the neighborhood of the interface, even though the spatial approximation is based on inf-sup stable finite elements. It means that XFEM enrichment locally violates the satisfaction of the stability condition for mixed problems. For this reason, resorting to pressure stabilization techniques in the region of elements cut by the unfitted interface is mandatory. In alternative, we consider the application of stabilized equal order pressure / velocity XFEM discretizations and we analyze their approximation properties. On one side, this strategy increases the flexibility on the choice of velocity and pressure approximation spaces. On the other side, symmetric pressure stabilization operators, such as local pressure projection methods or the Brezzi-Pitkaranta scheme, seem to be effective to cure the additional source of instability arising from the XFEM approximation. We will show that these operators can be applied either locally, namely only in proximity of the interface, or globally, that is on the whole domain when combined with equal order approximations. After analyzing the stability, approximation properties and the conditioning of the scheme, numerical results on benchmark cases will be discussed, in order to thoroughly compare the performance of different variants of the method.
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