A Smooth Finite Element Method Via Triangular B-Splines
A triangular B-spline (DMS-spline)-based finite element method (TBS-FEM) is proposed along with possible enrichment through discontinuous Galerkin, continuous-discontinuous Galerkin finite element (CDGFE) and stabilization techniques. The developed schemes are also numerically explored, to a limited extent, for weak discretizations of a few second order partial differential equations (PDEs) of interest in solid mechanics. The presently employed functional approximation has both affine invariance and convex hull properties. In contrast to the Lagrangian basis functions used with the conventional finite element method, basis functions derived through n-th order triangular B-splines possess (n ≥ 1) global continuity. This is usually not possible with standard finite element formulations. Thus, though constructed within a mesh-based framework, the basis functions are globally smooth (even across the element boundaries). Since these globally smooth basis functions are used in modeling response, one can expect a reduction in the number of elements in the discretization which in turn reduces number of degrees of freedom and consequently the computational cost. In the present work that aims at laying out the basic foundation of the method, we consider only linear triangular B-splines. The resulting formulation thus provides only a continuous approximation functions for the targeted variables. This leads to a straightforward implementation without a digression into the issue of knot selection, whose resolution is required for implementing the method with higher order triangular B-splines. Since we consider only n = 1, the formulation also makes use of the discontinuous Galerkin method that weakly enforces the continuity of first derivatives through stabilizing terms on the interior boundaries. Stabilization enhances the numerical stability without sacrificing accuracy by suitably changing the weak formulation. Weighted residual terms are added to the variational equation, which involve a mesh-dependent stabilization parameter. The advantage of the resulting scheme over a more traditional mixed approach and least square finite element is that the introduction of additional unknowns and related difficulties can be avoided. For assessing the numerical performance of the method, we consider Navier’s equations of elasticity, especially the case of nearly-incompressible elasticity (i.e. as the limit of volumetric locking approaches). Limited comparisons with results via finite element techniques based on constant-strain triangles help bring out the advantages of the proposed scheme to an extent.
- Civil Engineering (CiE)