A mixed finite element method for Darcy's equations with pressure dependent porosity

Gabriel N. Gatica, Ricardo Ruiz-Baier, Giordano Tierra

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In this work we develop the a priori and a posteriori error analyses of a mixed finite element method for Darcy's equations with porosity depending exponentially on the pressure. A simple change of variable for this unknown allows us to transform the original nonlinear problem into a linear one whose dual-mixed variational formulation falls into the frameworks of the generalized linear saddle point problems and the fixed point equations satisfied by an affine mapping. According to the latter, we are able to show the wellposedness of both the continuous and discrete schemes, as well as the associated Cea estimate, by simply applying a suitable combination of the classical Babuska-Brezzi theory and the Banach fixed point theorem. In particular, given any integer k ≥ 0, the stability of the Galerkin scheme is guaranteed by employing Raviart-Thomas elements of order k for the velocity, piecewise polynomials of degree k for the pressure, and continuous piecewise polynomials of degree k +1 for an additional Lagrange multiplier given by the trace of the pressure on the Neumann boundary. Note that the two ways of writing the continuous formulation suggest accordingly two different methods for solving the discrete schemes. Next, we derive a reliable and efficient residual-based a posteriori error estimator for this problem. The global inf-sup condition satisfied by the continuous formulation, Helmholtz decompositions, and the local approximation properties of the Raviart-Thomas and Cĺement interpolation operators are the main tools for proving the reliability. In turn, inverse and discrete inequalities, and the localization technique based on triangle-bubble and edge-bubble functions are utilized to show the efficiency. Finally, several numerical results illustrating the good performance of both methods, confirming the aforementioned properties of the estimator, and showing the behaviour of the associated adaptive algorithm, are reported.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-33
Number of pages33
JournalMathematics of Computation
Issue number297
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes

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