Mixed formulation for the Poisson equation

This demo illustrates how to solve Poisson equation using a mixed (two-field) formulation. In particular, it illustrates how to

  • Use mixed and non-continuous finite element spaces.

  • Set essential boundary conditions for subspaces and \(H(\mathrm{div})\) spaces.

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Equation and problem definition

An alternative formulation of Poisson equation can be formulated by introducing an additional (vector) variable, namely the (negative) flux: \(\sigma = \nabla u\). The partial differential equations then read

\[\begin{split} \begin{align} \sigma - \nabla u &= 0 \quad {\rm in} \ \Omega, \\ \nabla \cdot \sigma &= - f \quad {\rm in} \ \Omega, \end{align} \end{split}\]

with boundary conditions

\[\begin{split} u = u_0 \quad {\rm on} \ \Gamma_{D}, \\ \sigma \cdot n = g \quad {\rm on} \ \Gamma_{N}. \end{split}\]

The same equations arise in connection with flow in porous media, and are also referred to as Darcy flow. Here \(n\) denotes the outward pointing normal vector on the boundary. Looking at the variational form, we see that the boundary condition for the flux (\(\sigma \cdot n = g\)) is now an essential boundary condition (which should be enforced in the function space), while the other boundary condition (\(u = u_0\)) is a natural boundary condition (which should be applied to the variational form). Inserting the boundary conditions, this variational problem can be phrased in the general form: find \((\sigma, u) \in \Sigma_g \times V\) such that

\[ a((\sigma, u), (\tau, v)) = L((\tau, v)) \quad \forall \ (\tau, v) \in \Sigma_0 \times V, \]

where the variational forms \(a\) and \(L\) are defined as

\[\begin{split} \begin{align} a((\sigma, u), (\tau, v)) &= \int_{\Omega} \sigma \cdot \tau + \nabla \cdot \tau \ u + \nabla \cdot \sigma \ v \ {\rm d} x, \\ L((\tau, v)) &= - \int_{\Omega} f v \ {\rm d} x + \int_{\Gamma_D} u_0 \tau \cdot n \ {\rm d} s, \end{align} \end{split}\]

and \(\Sigma_g = \{ \tau \in H({\rm div})\) such that \(\tau \cdot n|_{\Gamma_N} = g \}\) and \(V = L^2(\Omega)\).

To discretize the above formulation, two discrete function spaces \(\Sigma_h \subset \Sigma\) and \(V_h \subset V\) are needed to form a mixed function space \(\Sigma_h \times V_h\). A stable choice of finite element spaces is to let \(\Sigma_h\) be the Brezzi-Douglas-Fortin-Marini elements of polynomial order \(k\) and let \(V_h\) be discontinuous elements of polynomial order \(k-1\).

We will use the same definitions of functions and boundaries as in the demo for the Poisson equation. These are:

  • \(\Omega = [0,1] \times [0,1]\) (a unit square)

  • \(\Gamma_{D} = \{(0, y) \cup (1, y) \in \partial \Omega\}\)

  • \(\Gamma_{N} = \{(x, 0) \cup (x, 1) \in \partial \Omega\}\)

  • \(u_0 = 0\)

  • \(g = \sin(5x)\) (flux)

  • \(f = 10\exp(-((x - 0.5)^2 + (y - 0.5)^2) / 0.02)\) (source term)


    from petsc4py import PETSc

    import dolfinx

    if not dolfinx.has_petsc:
        print("This demo requires DOLFINx to be compiled with PETSc enabled.")
except ModuleNotFoundError:
    print("This demo requires petsc4py.")

from mpi4py import MPI

import numpy as np

from basix.ufl import element, mixed_element
from dolfinx import default_real_type, fem, io, mesh
from dolfinx.fem.petsc import LinearProblem
from ufl import Measure, SpatialCoordinate, TestFunctions, TrialFunctions, div, exp, inner

msh = mesh.create_unit_square(MPI.COMM_WORLD, 32, 32, mesh.CellType.quadrilateral)

k = 1
Q_el = element("BDMCF", msh.basix_cell(), k, dtype=default_real_type)
P_el = element("DG", msh.basix_cell(), k - 1, dtype=default_real_type)
V_el = mixed_element([Q_el, P_el])
V = fem.functionspace(msh, V_el)

(sigma, u) = TrialFunctions(V)
(tau, v) = TestFunctions(V)

x = SpatialCoordinate(msh)
f = 10.0 * exp(-((x[0] - 0.5) * (x[0] - 0.5) + (x[1] - 0.5) * (x[1] - 0.5)) / 0.02)

dx = Measure("dx", msh)
a = inner(sigma, tau) * dx + inner(u, div(tau)) * dx + inner(div(sigma), v) * dx
L = -inner(f, v) * dx

# Get subspace of V
V0 = V.sub(0)

fdim = msh.topology.dim - 1
facets_top = mesh.locate_entities_boundary(msh, fdim, lambda x: np.isclose(x[1], 1.0))
Q, _ = V0.collapse()
dofs_top = fem.locate_dofs_topological((V0, Q), fdim, facets_top)

def f1(x):
    values = np.zeros((2, x.shape[1]))
    values[1, :] = np.sin(5 * x[0])
    return values

f_h1 = fem.Function(Q)
bc_top = fem.dirichletbc(f_h1, dofs_top, V0)

facets_bottom = mesh.locate_entities_boundary(msh, fdim, lambda x: np.isclose(x[1], 0.0))
dofs_bottom = fem.locate_dofs_topological((V0, Q), fdim, facets_bottom)

def f2(x):
    values = np.zeros((2, x.shape[1]))
    values[1, :] = -np.sin(5 * x[0])
    return values

f_h2 = fem.Function(Q)
bc_bottom = fem.dirichletbc(f_h2, dofs_bottom, V0)

bcs = [bc_top, bc_bottom]

problem = LinearProblem(
        "ksp_type": "preonly",
        "pc_type": "lu",
        "pc_factor_mat_solver_type": "superlu_dist",
    w_h = problem.solve()
except PETSc.Error as e:  # type: ignore
    if e.ierr == 92:
        print("The required PETSc solver/preconditioner is not available. Exiting.")
        raise e

sigma_h, u_h = w_h.split()

with io.XDMFFile(msh.comm, "out_mixed_poisson/u.xdmf", "w") as file: