Virtual and smoothed finite elements: A connection and its application to polygonal/polyhedral finite element methods

Sundararajan Natarajan, Stéphane Pa Bordas, Ean Tat Ooi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

42 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We show both theoretically and numerically a connection between the smoothed finite element method (SFEM) and the virtual element method and use this approach to derive stable, cheap and optimally convergent polyhedral FEM. We show that the stiffness matrix computed with one subcell SFEM is identical to the consistency term of the virtual element method, irrespective of the topology of the element, as long as the shape functions vary linearly on the boundary. Using this connection, we propose a new stable approach to strain smoothing for polygonal/polyhedral elements where, instead of using sub-triangulations, we are able to use one single polygonal/polyhedral subcell for each element while maintaining stability. For a similar number of degrees of freedom, the proposed approach is more accurate than the conventional SFEM with triangular subcells. The time to compute the stiffness matrix scales with the O(dofs)1.1 in case of the conventional polygonal FEM, while it scales as O(dofs)0.7 in the proposed approach. The accuracy and the convergence properties of the SFEM are studied with a few benchmark problems in 2D and 3D linear elasticity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1173-1199
Number of pages27
JournalInternational Journal for Numerical Methods in Engineering
Volume104
Issue number13
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes

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