Higher-order spectral/hp finite element technology for shells and flows of viscous incompressible fluids Academic Article uri icon


  • This study deals with the use of high-order spectral/hp approximation functions in finite element models of various of nonlinear boundary-value and initial-value problems arising in the fields of structural mechanics and flows of viscous incompressible fluids. For many of these classes of problems, the high-order (typically, polynomial order p ≥ 4) spectral/hp finite element technology offers many computational advantages over traditional low-order (i.e., p < 3) finite elements. For instance, higher-order spectral/hp finite element procedures allow us to develop robust structural elements such as beams, plates, and shells in a purely displacement-based setting, which avoid all forms of numerical locking. For fluid flows, when combined with least-squares variational principles, the higher-order spectral/hp technology allows us to develop efficient finite element models that always yield a symmetric positive-definite (SPD) coefficient matrix and, hence, robust iterative solvers can be used. Also, the use of spectral/hp finite element technology results in a better conservation of physical quantities like dilatation, volume, and mass, and stable evolution of variables with time for transient flows. The present study considers the weak-form based displacement finite element models elastic shells and the least-squares finite element models of the Navier-Stokes equations governing flows of viscous incompressible fluids. Numerical solutions of several nontrivial benchmark problems are presented to illustrate the accuracy and robustness of the developed finite element technology.

author list (cited authors)

  • Vallala, V. P., & Reddy, J. N.

publication date

  • September 2013