You are on page 1of 11

ConvergenceoftheFEM

by HuiZhang Jorida Kushova Ruwen Jung

In order to proof FEMsolutions to be convergent, a measurement for their quality is required. Asimpleapproach(ifanexactsolutionisaccessible)istoquantifytheerrorbetweenaFEM andtheexactsolution. Atfirstanormofafunction,whichmeasuresthefunctionssize,hastobedeveloped.The normofavectorisacommonlyusednormandtakenasanentrypoint: Itisdefinedby

2 a = ai i =1
n

1 2

[1]

with

ax a = a y az
ityields
1 2

a = ai2 = i =1
3

(a

2 x

2 + ay + a

1 2 2 z

Inanalogytothenormofavectorthenormofafunctioncanbe writtenas

f ( x)

L2

f 2 ( x)dx = x 1
x2

1 2

[2]

and is called the Lebesque norm (L2). Like the norm of a vector it will always be a positive value. Thesimilaritybetweenthenormscanbeseenifthenormofavector[1] isnormalizedand thefollowingsubstitutionsaremade

ai = a ( xi ), x =

1 ,n n
1 2

Withthesechanges[1] transformsto

2 n 2 1 n 2 a ( x)dx a = ai = a ( xi )x n i =1 i =1 0
1

1 2

1 2

Using[2]leadstoadefinitionfortheerrorinaFEMsolution

L2

x2 ex u ( x) u h ( x) 2 dx = u ( x) u ( x) = x 1
ex h

1 2

[3.1]

where uex(x) is the exact and uh(x) the FEMsolution. With [3.1] the distance between any pointofbothfunctionsismeasuredandaddedwhichgivesthetotalerrorindisplacement. TogetamoreusefulvalueandthepossibilitytocomparedifferentFEMsolutionstheerror [3.1]isnormalized,whichbecomes

eL2 =

u ex ( x) u h ( x) u ex ( x)
L2

L2

u ex ( x) u h ( x) 2 dx x 1 =
x2

1 2

[3.2]

x2 ex u ( x) 2 dx x 1

1 2

andallowseasyinterpretation:avalueof0.1meansanaverageerrorinthedisplacementof 10%.

Another,morefrequentlyused,approachofquantifyingtheerror istoevaluatetheerrorin energy.Thisistdoneby

e en = u ( x) u ( x)
ex h

en

1 x2 2 ex h = E ( x) ( x) dx 2 x 1

1 2

[4.1]

andcanalsobenormalizedwhichgives

een =

u ( x) u ( x)
ex h

en

u ( x)

ex

1 2 ex h E ( x) ( x) dx 2 x 1 =
x2

1 2

en

1 x2 2 ex E ( x) dx 2 x 1

1 2

[4.2]

ConvergencebyNumericalExperiments
Sinceitisnowpossibletomeasuretheerror,asimplenumericalexamplewillbeconsidered toshowtheFEMsconvergence. b(x) = cx A, E t = -cl/A 2l The figure above shows a bar of length 2l with Youngs Modulus E = 104 Nm2 and cross sectionalareaA=1m. Theexactsolutionsforthisproblemare

c x3 2 + l x u ex ( x) = AE 6

and

du c x2 2 + l = ex ( x) = dx AE 2

The(logofthe)errorcannowbecalculatedandshownasafunctionofthelogofelement lengthh:

log e

L2

(log(h) ))

whichleadstothefollowinggraphs(foralinearandaquadraticelement)
linear element quadratic element

Ascanbeseen,thelogoferrorvarieslinearlywiththelogof elementlengthhandtheslope dependsontheorderoftheelement.Thiscanbeexpressedwiththeequationforstraights

y ( x) = mx + b
as

log e

( ) = C + log(h)
L2

[5]

withtheslopeexpressedby. Takingthepowerofbothsidesof[5]gives

L2

= Ch

Forlinearelements=2andforquadraticelements=3,whichleadstotheconclusion=p+1 (withpastheorderoftheelement).Usingthisequationtheaboveexpressionbecomes

L2

= Ch p +1

Andthenormofenergy

en

= Ch p

Nowitcanbeeasilyseen,thattheerrordecreaseswithelement lengthh.FortheLebesque norm this reads as: to halve elements size leads to an error that is only a fourth of the previouserrorforlinearelementsandaneighthforquadraticelements.

Conlclusion: The FEMis convegent. Its convergence rateincreases with the orderofthe element (and ofcourse its size).So does its complexity. Quadratic elements offer a good balance between accuracy and complexity and are therefore recommended. Aneasy waytoevaluate the quality ofasolution,if noexact solution is present or the FEM software does not provide an estimate of the error (on elementbyelement basis), is to refine the mesh and compare the new solution with the previous one. If there are large changes the originalmesh wasinadequate andthe refined might be also further refinement is necessary.

RichardsonExtrapolation
TheFEMsconvergencebehaviourcanbeusedtoobtainamoreexactsolutionfex iftwo solutionswithdifferentdiscretisations(fm,fn)ofthesameproblemarepresent.Thismethod istcalledRichardsonExtrapolation. Itisassumedthatbothsolutionsonlydifferintheirmeshesstepsize(m,n)andthefirst memberofthetaylorseriesexpansionsisdecisiveforthetotal values.InAdditiontheorder ofconvergencepmustbeknown.Itisusedtodefinetheorderoferror. Thebettersolutioncanbecalculatedby

1 f ex = f m + K m

[6.1] and

1 f ex = f n + K n

[6.2]

Bothequations([6.1],[6.2])combined(andKeliminated)give

f ex f n m = f ex f m n
Reordereditbecomes

f ex = f n +

fm fn n 1 m

whichrepresentsamoreaccuratesolution.

Thanksforyourattention!