Block recursive LU preconditioners for the thermally coupled incompressible inductionless MHD problem

Santiago Badia, Alberto F. Martín, Ramon Planas

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31 Citations (Scopus)


The thermally coupled incompressible inductionless magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) problem models the flow of an electrically charged fluid under the influence of an external electromagnetic field with thermal coupling. This system of partial differential equations is strongly coupled and highly nonlinear for real cases of interest. Therefore, fully implicit time integration schemes are very desirable in order to capture the different physical scales of the problem at hand. However, solving the multiphysics linear systems of equations resulting from such algorithms is a very challenging task which requires efficient and scalable preconditioners. In this work, a new family of recursive block LU preconditioners is designed and tested for solving the thermally coupled inductionless MHD equations. These preconditioners are obtained after splitting the fully coupled matrix into one-physics problems for every variable (velocity, pressure, current density, electric potential and temperature) that can be optimally solved, e.g., using preconditioned domain decomposition algorithms. The main idea is to arrange the original matrix into an (arbitrary) 2 × 2 block matrix, and consider an LU preconditioner obtained by approximating the corresponding Schur complement. For every one of the diagonal blocks in the LU preconditioner, if it involves more than one type of unknowns, we proceed the same way in a recursive fashion. This approach is stated in an abstract way, and can be straightforwardly applied to other multiphysics problems. Further, we precisely explain a flexible and general software design for the code implementation of this type of preconditioners.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)562-591
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Computational Physics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Block preconditioning
  • Inductionless magnetohydrodynamics
  • Stabilized finite element methods

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