Volume 52, pp. 281-294, 2020.

Pressure-robustness in quasi-optimal a priori estimates for the Stokes problem

Alexander Linke, Christian Merdon, and Michael Neilan


Recent analysis of the divergence constraint in the incompressible Stokes/Navier-Stokes problem has stressed the importance of equivalence classes of forces and how they play a fundamental role for an accurate space discretization. Two forces in the momentum balance are velocity-equivalent if they lead to the same velocity solution, i.e., if and only if the forces differ by only a gradient field. Pressure-robust space discretizations are designed to respect these equivalence classes. One way to achieve pressure-robust schemes is to introduce a non-standard discretization of the right-hand side forcing term for any inf-sup stable mixed finite element method. This modification leads to pressure-robust and optimal-order discretizations, but a proof was only available for smooth situations and remained open in the case of minimal regularity, where it cannot be assumed that the vector Laplacian of the velocity is at least square-integrable. This contribution closes this gap by delivering a general estimate for the consistency error that depends only on the regularity of the data term. Pressure-robustness of the estimate is achieved by the fact that the new estimate only depends on the $L^2$-norm of the Helmholtz-Hodge projector of the data term and not on the $L^2$-norm of the entire data term. Numerical examples illustrate the theory.

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Key words

incompressible Stokes equations, mixed finite elements methods, a-priori error estimates, stability estimates, pressure-robustness

AMS subject classifications

65N12, 65N30, 76D07

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