Finite Element Approximation and Analysis of Viscoelastic Wave Propagation with Internal Variable Formulations

by   Yongseok Jang, et al.

We consider linear scalar wave equations with a hereditary integral term of the kind used to model viscoelastic solids. The kernel in this Volterra integral is a sum of decaying exponentials (The so-called Maxwell, or Zener model) and this allows the introduction of one of two types of families of internal variables, each of which evolve according to an ordinary differential equation (ODE). There is one such ODE for each decaying exponential, and the introduction of these ODEs means that the Volterra integral can be removed from the governing equation. The two types of internal variable are distinguished by whether the unknown appears in the Volterra integral, or whether its time derivative appears; we call the resulting problems the displacement and velocity forms. We define fully discrete formulations for each of these forms by using continuous Galerkin finite element approximations in space and an implicit `Crank-Nicolson' type of finite difference method in time. We prove stability and a priori bounds, and (using the FEniCS environment, give some numerical results. These bounds do not require Grönwall's inequality and so can be regarded to be of high quality, allowing confidence in long time integration without an a priori exponential build up of error. As far as we are aware this is the first time that these two formulations have been described together with accompanying proofs of such high quality stability and error bounds. The extension of the results to vector-valued viscoelasticity problems is straightforward and summarised at the end. The numerical results are reproducible by acquiring the python sources from, or by running a custom built docker container (instructions are given).


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