Implementing $H^2$-conforming finite elements without enforcing $C^1$-continuity

Zhaonan DongInternal Seminar

Charles Parker: Monday 13th Nov at 11:00am


Fourth-order elliptic problems arise in a variety of applications from thin plates to phase separation to liquid crystals. A conforming Galerkin discretization requires a finite dimensional subspace of $H^2$, which in turn means that conforming finite element subspaces are $C^1$-continuous. In contrast to standard $H^1$-conforming $C^0$ elements, $C^1$ elements, particularly those of high order, are less understood from a theoretical perspective and are not implemented in many existing finite element codes. In this talk, we address the implementation of the elements. In particular, we present algorithms that compute $C^1$ finite element approximations to fourth-order elliptic problems and which only require elements with at most $C^0$-continuity. We show that the resulting subproblems are uniformly stable with respect to the mesh size and polynomial degree in 2D and illustrate the method on a number of representative test problems.

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