Introduction to Finite Element Techniques in Computational Fluid Dynamics


The finite element method (FEM) is a technique for solving partial differential equations (PDEs). Its first essential characteristic is that the continuum field, or domain, is subdivided into cells, called elements, which form a grid. The elements have either a triangular or a quadrilateral form. The elements can be rectilinear or can be curved. The grid itself need not be structured. Due to this unstructured form, very complex geometries can be handled with ease. This is clearly the most important advantage of the method and is not shared by the finite difference method (FDM) which needs a structured grid. Therefore in the FDM the domain is to be regularized by mapping a complex domain into a series of rectangular regions. The finite volume method (FVM), on the other hand, has the same geometric characteristic as the FEM.


Finite Element Method Weighting Function Computational Fluid Dynamics Shape Function Finite Difference Method 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1992

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  • E. Dick

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