Finite element methods for surface problems
Sammanfattning: The purpose of this thesis is to further develop numerical methods for solving surface problems by utilizing tangential calculus and the trace finite element method. Direct computation on the surface is possible by the use of tangential calculus, in contrast to the classical approach of mapping 2D parametric surfaces to 3D surfaces by means of differential geometry operators. Using tangential calculus, the problem formulation is only dependent on the position and normal vectors of the 3D surface. Tangential calculus thus enables a clean, simple and inexpensive formulation and implementation of finite element methods for surface problems. Meshing techniques are greatly simplified from the end-user perspective by utilizing an unfitted finite element method called the Trace Finite Element Method, in which the basic idea is to embed the surface in a higher dimensional mesh and use the shape functions of this background mesh for the discretization of the partial differential equation. This method makes it possible to model surfaces implicitly and solve surface problems without the need for expensive meshing/re-meshing techniques especially for moving surfaces or surfaces embedded in 3D solids, so called embedded interface problems. Using these two approaches, numerical methods for solving three surface problems are proposed: 1) minimal surface problems, in which the form that minimizes the mean curvature was computed by iterative update of a level-set function discretized using TraceFEM and driven by advection, for which the velocity field was given by the mean curvature flow, 2) elastic membrane problems discretized using linear and higher order TraceFEM, which makes it straightforward to embed complex geometries of membrane models into an elastic bulk for reinforcement and 3) stabilized, accurate vertex normal and mean curvature estimation with local refinement on triangulated surfaces. In this thesis the basics of the two main approaches are presented, some aspects such as stabilization and surface reconstruction are further developed, evaluated and numerically analyzed, details on implementations are provided and the current state of work is presented.
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