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# Discretization Techniques

## Mathematical description of transfer

processes
Conservation principle leads to a general
differential equation:
( ) ( ) S
x x
u
x t
j j
j
j
+
|
|
.
|

\
|
c
c
I
c
c
=
c
c
+
c
c |
| |
where :
j = 1, 2, 3
= 1, u
i
, h, m
s
, k,

Generalized diffusion coefficient
Nature of coordinates
with respect to x
j
:
1D, 2D, 3D
with respect to t :

(x
j
, t) = (x
1
, x
2
, x
3
, t) = (x, y, z, t)
For steady state /t = 0
No generation, S = 0
Solution Strategies
There are three approaches to solve this equation:
Analytical Method: The equation can be solved using method of
separation of variables.
Graphical Method: Limited use. However, the conduction shape
factor concept derived under this concept can be useful for specific
configurations.
Numerical Method: Numerical solutions obtained using high-speed
computer are very useful, especially when the geometry of the
object is irregular, or the boundary conditions are nonlinear.
Task: Differential equation of quantity is transformed into algebraic equation
at chosen grid points

Methods of deriving Discritization Equations
Taylor series expansion
...
) (
! 3
) (
! 2
) (
) ( ) (
3
0
3 3
2
0
2 2
0
0 0
+
c
c
+
c
c
+
c
c
+ = +
x
x f h
x
x f h
x
x f
h x f h x f
where
x
0
= base value or starting value
x = the point at which the value of the function is needed
h = x - x
0
= distance between x
0
and x
) (
2
) ( ) ( ) (
2
0 0 0
h O
x
h x f h x f
x
x f
A +
A
+
=
c
c
...
) (
! 3
) (
! 2
) (
) ( ) (
3
0
3 3
2
0
2 2
0
0 0
+
c
c

c
c
+
c
c
=
x
x f h
x
x f h
x
x f
h x f h x f
) (
) (
) ( 2 ) ( ) ( ) (
3
2
0 0 0
2
0
2
h O
h
x f h x f h x f
x
x f
A +
A
+ +
=
c
c
Methods of deriving Discritization Equations
Variational Method (VM)
VM involves the integral of a function to produce a number. Integration of each
function produces a number.
The function that produces the lowest number has the additional property of
satisfying a specific differential equation.
Consider the integral
The numerical value of p can be calculated given a specific equation y = f(x).
Variational calculus shows that the particular equation y = g(x) which yields the
lowest numerical value for p is the solution to the differential equation
{ } 0 ) (
2
2
,
=
(

=
}
dx Qy x y
D
p
0 ) (
"
= +Q x Dy
D (differential) form
Strong form
V (viariational) form
Weak form
Methods of deriving Discritization Equations
Method of Weighted Residual (MWR)
In the MWR, an approximate solution is substituted into the differential equation.
Since the approximate solution does not identically satisfy the equation, a residual
(R) is obtained.
Let the governing equation is represented by,
L(y) = 0 Where L d/dx
R = L(y
approx
) L (y)
0
The MWR then requires that
0 =
}
x
Rwdx
Try to minimize the error or residual in a weighted residual sense
in a domain
w is weighting function
y* (y
approx
) Trial function. The coefficient of trial function is evaluated from
the above equation
Galerkins Method
There are several choices for the weighting functions, w
i
.
In the Galerkins method, the weighting functions are the same
functions that were used in the approximating equation.
METHOD OF WEIGHTED RESIDUAL
Trial function (y
approx
)

Should be continuous
Should be integrable
Should satisfy the essential boundary condition which are imposed on the primary
variable like displacements, temperature (i.e. value of the variable for 2
nd
order
problem & for higher order problems, its derivative.)
Weighting function (w)

Should satisfy the homogeneous part of the essential boundary condition
Should be continuous
Example
Essential and Natural Boundary conditions??
Discretisation Concept
These approximate methods are global in nature in the
sense that the approximate function is intend to made
valid over the entire domain.
To improve the solution, higher order polynomial
could be used lead to tedious computation
This problem can be avoided by dividing the domain
into small sub-domains with lower order polynomials
Discretisation Concept
Divide the entire domain into number of sub-domains (element,
control volume etc.)
Each sub-domains are represented by discrete set of points
(nodes, grid points etc.)
Transform the governing differential equation of quantity into a
system of algebraic equations at chosen grid points
Assume profile (linear, polynomial) between successive grid
points
Discretization Methods
Finite Element Method
Finite Difference Method
Finite Volume Method
Finite Element Method
The domain is broken into a set of discrete elements.
The shape of the elements can be arbitrary. In two dimensions, that are
usually triangles or quadrilaterals, while in three dimensions, tetrahedral
or hexahedral elements are often used.
The equations are multiplied by a weight function before they are
integrated over the entire domain.
The solution is approximated by simple piecewise functions (shape
functions) valid on elements to describe the local variations of the
unknown variable (or scalars). Such a function can be constructed from
its values at the corners of the elements called nodes.
Finite Element Method (Cond)
This approximation is then substituted into the weighted integral of the governing
equation, and a residual is defined to measure the deviation from the actual solution.
The algebraic equations to be solved are derived by minimizing the residual.
The continuum has an infinite number of degrees-of-freedom (DOF), while the
discretized model has a finite number of DOF.
The number of equations is usually large for most ractical applications. Hence, the
solution of such large system of equations requires a computational method.
The ever-increasing computational power of modern day digital computers and
creation of advanced user friendly softwares have brought FEM within reach of
engineers working in small industries, and college students.
Theoretical Basis for FEM Formulation
There are several approaches to convert a differential equation into a
discretized finite element formulation.
If the physical formulation is described as a differential equation, then
the most popular solution method is the Method of Weighted Residuals
(MWR).
If the physical formulation is presented as the minimization of a
function, then the Variational Formulation (VF) is usually used.