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An augmented mixed finite element method for the Navier-Stokes equations with variable viscosity

Gatica, Gabriel

Oyarzúa, Ricardo

Tierra, Giordano

SIAM Journal on Numerical Analysis

2016

A new mixed variational formulation for the Navier--Stokes equations with constant density and variable viscosity depending nonlinearly on the gradient of velocity, is proposed and analyzed here. Our approach employs a technique previously applied to the stationary Boussinesq problem and to the Navier--Stokes equations with constant viscosity, which consists firstly of the introduction of a modified pseudostress tensor involving the diffusive and convective terms, and the pressure. Next, by using an equivalent statement suggested by the incompressibility condition, the pressure is eliminated, and in order to handle the nonlinear viscosity, the gradient of velocity is incorporated as an auxiliary unknown. Furthermore, since the convective term forces the velocity to live in a smaller space than usual, we overcome this difficulty by augmenting the variational formulation with suitable Galerkin-type terms arising from the constitutive and equilibrium equations, the aforementioned relation defining the additional unknown, and the Dirichlet boundary condition. The resulting augmented scheme is then written equivalently as a fixed point equation, and hence the well-known Schauder and Banach theorems, combined with classical results on bijective monotone operators, are applied to prove the unique solvability of the continuous and discrete systems. No discrete inf-sup conditions are required for the well-posedness of the Galerkin scheme, and hence arbitrary finite element subspaces of the respective continuous spaces can be utilized. In particular, given an integer K >_0, piecewise polynomials of degree _< K for the gradient of velocity, Raviart--Thomas spaces of order K for the pseudostress, and continuous piecewise polynomials of degree _< K + 1 for the velocity, constitute feasible choices. Finally, optimal a priori error estimates are derived, and several numerical results illustrating the good performance of the augmented mixed finite element method and confirming the theoretical rates of convergence are reported.

Navier--Stokes equations

Nonlinear viscosity

Augmented mixed formulation

Fixed point theory

Mixed finite element methods

A priori error analysis