A vorticity-based fully-mixed formulation for the 3D Brinkman-Darcy problem

Mario Alvarez, Gabriel N. Gatica, Ricardo Ruiz-Baier

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8 Citations (Scopus)


We propose and analyze a fully-mixed finite element method to numerically approximate the flow patterns of a viscous fluid within a highly permeable medium (an array of low concentration fixed particles), described by Brinkman equations, and its interaction with non-viscous flow within classical porous media governed by Darcy's law. The system is formulated in terms of velocity and pressure in the porous medium, together with vorticity, velocity and pressure of the viscous fluid. In addition, and for sake of the analysis, the tangential component of the vorticity is supposed to vanish on the whole boundary of the Brinkman domain, whereas null normal components of both velocities are assumed on the respective boundaries, except on the interface where suitable transmission conditions are considered. In this way, the derivation of the corresponding mixed variational formulation leads to a Lagrange multiplier enforcing the pressure continuity across the interface, whereas mass balance results from essential boundary conditions on each domain. As a consequence, a typical saddle-point operator equation is obtained, and hence the classical Babuška-Brezzi theory is applied to establish the well-posedness of the continuous and discrete schemes. In particular, we remark that the continuous and discrete inf-sup conditions of the main bilinear form are proved by using suitably chosen injective operators to get lower bounds of the corresponding suprema, which constitutes a previously known technique, recently denominated T-coercivity. In turn, and consistently with the above, the stability of the Galerkin scheme requires that the curl of the finite element subspace approximating the vorticity be contained in the space where the discrete velocity of the fluid lives, which yields Raviart-Thomas and Nédélec finite element subspaces as feasible choices. Then we show that the aforementioned constraint can be avoided by augmenting the mixed formulation with a residual arising from the Brinkman momentum equation. Finally, several numerical examples illustrating the satisfactory performance of the methods and confirming the theoretical rates of convergence are reported.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-95
Number of pages28
JournalComputer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Brinkman equation
  • Darcy equation
  • Error analysis
  • Mixed finite elements
  • Viscous and non-viscous flows
  • Vorticity-based formulation

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