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Computers & Geosciences 28 (2002) 679692

A linear analytical boundary element method (BEM) for 2D


homogeneous potential problems
$
J. urgen Friedrich*
Department of Geodesy & Photogrammetry, Karadeniz Technical University, 61080 Trabzon, Turkey
Received 24 August 2000; received in revised form 18 May 2001; accepted 31 May 2001
Abstract
The solution of potential problems is not only fundamental for geosciences, but also an essential part of related
subjects like electro- and uid-mechanics. In all elds, solution algorithms are needed that should be as accurate as
possible, robust, simple to program, easy to use, fast and small in computer memory. An ideal technique to fulll these
criteria is the boundary element method (BEM) which applies Greens identities to transform volume integrals into
boundary integrals. This work describes a linear analytical BEM for 2D homogeneous potential problems that is more
robust and precise than numerical methods because it avoids numerical schemes and coordinate transformations. After
deriving the solution algorithm, the introduced approach is tested against dierent benchmarks. Finally, the gained
method was incorporated into an existing software program described before in this journal by the same author.
r 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: 2D homogeneous potential problems; Boundary element method; Linear analytical solution; Gravity potential; Geoid
determination
1. Introduction
Since its beginnings in the 1960s, the boundary
element method (BEM) has become a wellestablished
numerical technique which provides an ecient alter-
native to the nite dierence and nite element method
for solving a variety of engineering problems (Brebbia,
1978; Banerjee, 1994). The classical BEM considered in
this work requires a fundamental solution to the
governing dierential equation (here the Laplace equa-
tion) in order to obtain an equivalent boundary integral
equation. Regarding homogeneous potential problems,
BEMs have the following advantages (Brebbia and
Dominguez, 1989).
*
The BEM is a boundary-only integral technique for
potential problems which does not require the ex/
interior of the problem volume to be discretized. The
Laplace equation can be solved just on the boundary,
then called boundary solution, which reduces the
problem dimension by one, thus requiring less
unknowns and therefore saving memory space and
CPU time.
*
The boundary solution is followed by the ex/internal
solution for ex/interior points where their location
and number can be chosen as wanted, again
minimizing computer space and time.
*
Both the boundary and ex/internal solution provide
exact results to the governing Laplace equation for
external and internal problems because the corre-
sponding BEM integral equation can be analytically
solved for linear elements applied in this work. The
$
Code available from server at http://www.iamg.org/
CEEditor/index htm.
*Corresponding author. Tel.: 90-462-325-7977; fax: 90-462-
325-7977.
E-mail address: jafriedrich@yahoo.de (J. Friedrich).
0098-3004/02/$ - see front matter r 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
PII: S 0 0 9 8 - 3 0 0 4 ( 0 1 ) 0 0 0 9 3 - 0
only BEM error for potential problems originates
from discretizing the boundary.
In conclusion, the BEM is the ideal technique for
solving homogeneous potential problems with precise
results while minimizing computer space and time in
combination with robustness, easy implementation, and
user-friendliness, fullling all criteria mentioned before.
This work concentrates on the precision and robustness
of the proposed algorithm in comparison to numerical
methods.
2. The boundary element method (BEM) for potential
problems
2.1. The boundary value problem
The governing 2D Laplace equation for a function
u ux; y; which will be considered from now on for
simplicity reasons (the 3D formulation can be derived in
an analogous way)
Du
q
2
u
qx
2

q
2
u
qy
2
0 in V; 1
is going to be solved for a volume V bounded by a single
surface S with given boundary conditions (u is a
continuous function with continuous rst partial deri-
vatives)
u % u on S
1
;
q% u
qn
% q on S
2
; a % u b% q on S
3
; 2
where n is the outward normal to the boundary S
S
1
,S
2
,S
3
(Fig. 1). The bars indicate known values of
potentials u and uxes q; and real numbers a and b are
given.
The starting point to solve Eqs. (1) and (2) is Greens
second identity (Heiskanen and Moritz, 1985)
_
V
U DV V DU dv
_
S
U
qV
qn
V
qU
qn
_ _
ds; 3
where U u and V G are chosen with G fullling the
following dierential equation
DG dx x; y m: 4
G is the so called Greens function, and dx x; y m
the 2D Dirac delta function (Greenberg, 1971), dened
through the expression
_
V
Fx; ydx x; y m dv Fx; m; 5
which picks out the value of the function F at the point
x; m: Inserting Eqs. (1) and (4) into (3) gives
ux; y
_
S
G
qu
qn

qG
qn
u
_ _
ds; 6
which is the basic BEM equation for potential problems
to compute both the boundary and the ex/internal
solution for potentials ux; y and uxes qx; y; at a
point with coordinates x; y: In two dimensions, G is
given by (Brebbia, 1978)
Gr
1
b
ln r; b 2p; r

x x
2
y m
2
_
:
7
The 3D Greens function can be analogously derived,
yielding (Banerjee, 1994)
Gr
1
br
; b 4p; r

x x
2
y m
2
z z
2
_
:
8
Note that Eqs. (7) and (8) express the eect of a source
point of unit strength located at x; m; x on a eld point
at position x; y; z: Inserting Eq. (7) into (6) yields
Greens third identity for internal 2D Laplace problems
for a eld point P inside the volume Vb 2p
b ux; y
_
s
ln r
qu
qn

w
i
n
i
r
2
u
_ _
ds;
b
2p for P inside Volume;
p for P on Surface;
0 for P outside Volume;
_

_
qG
qn

w
i
n
i
br
2
; w
i
x x; y m
i
; n
i
n
x
; n
y

i
; 9
which can be rewritten as follows:
ux; y
_
S
Hu ds
_
S
Gq ds; H
qG
qn
: 10
For external problems, the sign of the right-hand side
of Eq. (9) is ipped and the value of b reversed,
if n
i
continues to be the outward normal which is
the case in this work, resulting in b 2p for P
outside V; and b 0 for P inside V (Heiskanen and
Moritz, 1985).
2.2. The solution algorithm for the linear analytical BEM
For evaluating Eq. (10), the volumes surface is
discretized by boundary nodes connected by linear Fig. 1. Denition sketch of single bounded volume.
J. Friedrich / Computers & Geosciences 28 (2002) 679692 680
boundary elements of length l
n
as shown in Fig. 2
(Brebbia, 1978).
Thus, all boundary-related parameters, e.g. co-
ordinates, potentials and uxes, can be linearly
interpolated by
xZ I
1
x
n
I
2
x
n1
; yZ I
1
y
n
I
2
Y
n1
;
uZ I
1
u
n
I
2
u
n1
; qZ I
1
q
n
I
2
q
n1
;
11
where Z is a dimensionless parameter varying be-
tween 1 and +1, (x
n
; y
n
), (x
n1
; y
n1
) the
node coordinates of a linear boundary element
E
n
; (u
n
; q
n
), (u
n1
; q
n1
) the end point potentials
and uxes, and I
1
; I
2
linear interpolation (shape)
functions dened by
I
1
1 Z=2; I
2
1 Z=2; 1oZo 1: 12
Applying Eqs. (11) and (12) to Eq. (10) and
approximating the boundary integrals by a summation
over all linear boundary elements E
n
; n f1; 2; y;Ng;
results in
ux; y

N
n1
H
1
n
u
n
H
2
n
u
n1

N
n1
G
1
n
q
n
G
2
n
q
n1
;
13
where the terms G and H represent the following
integrals valid for internal problems that allow an
analytical integration, if the boundary is piecewise
planar which is the situation for the linear shape
functions used here to discretize the boundary (Camp,
1992; Klees, 1996).
G
1
n

1
b
_
E
n
I
1
ln r ds; G
2
n

1
b
_
E
n
I
2
ln r ds;
H
1
n

1
b
_
E
n
I
1
w
i
n
i
r
2
ds; H
2
n

1
b
_
E
n
I
2
w
i
n
i
r
2
ds:
14
By expressing w
i
; the distance r and the line element ds as
functions of Z using Eqs. (11) and (12)
r
2
Z aZ
2
bZ c; ds
l
n
2
dZ;
l
n

x
n1
x
n

2
y
n1
y
n

2
_
;
a
l
n
2
_ _
2
b
x
n1
x
n
2
x
_ _
x
n1
x
n

y
n1
y
n
2
m
_ _
y
n1
y
n
;
c
x
n1
x
n
2
x
_ _
2

y
n1
y
n
2
m
_ _
2
;
d 4ac b
2
;
15
Eq. (14) can be analytically integrated without numer-
ical schemes from Z 1 to +1, yielding
G
1
n

l
n
4b
2
b
2a

1
2
ln r
n1
3ln r
n
;
_

2ac b
2
8a
2

b
4a
_ _
ln r
2
n1
ln r
2
n

b
3
4abc
8a
2

d
4a
_ _
f
n
_
;
G
2
n

l
n
4b
2
b
2a

1
2
3ln r
n1
ln r
n

_

2ac b
2
8a
2

b
4a
_ _
ln r
2
n1
ln r
2
n

b
3
4abc
8a
2

d
4a
_ _
f
n
_
H
1
n

S
n
4b
1
b
2a
_ _
f
n

1
2a
ln r
2
n1
ln r
2
n

_ _
H
2
n

s
n
4b
1
b
2a
_ _
f
n

1
2a
ln r
2
n1
ln r
2
n

_ _
16
where
r
n

x
n
x
2
y
n
m
2
;
_
r
n1

x
n1
x
2
y
n1
m
2
_
s
n

x
n1
x
n
2
x
_ _
y
n1
y
n

y
n1
y
n
2
m
_ _
x
n1
x
n
; 17
Fig. 2. Boundary discretization with linear boundary elements
n
x
y
n1
y
n
=l
n
; n
y
x
n1
x
n
=l
n
:
J. Friedrich / Computers & Geosciences 28 (2002) 679692 681
f
n

2
2a b

2
2a b
for d 0;

d
_ a tan
2a b

d
_ a tan
2a b

d
_
_ _
for d > 0;

d
_ ln
2a b

d
_
2a b

d
_
_
ln
2a b

d
_
2a b

d
_
_
for do0:
Eq. (17) automatically handles singular integrals for
which the determinant d is equal to zero, when a source
point is identical to a boundary node, for example x
n
; y
n
;
thus avoiding numerical schemes and coordinate trans-
formations which increases robustness and precision. In
this instance, Eq. (17) uses the values ln r
n
ln r
2
n
0
and r
n1
l
n
so that the singular integrals become
(b p)
G
1
n

l
n
4b
3
2
ln l
n
_ _
; G
2
n

l
n
4b
1
2
ln l
n
_ _
;
H
1
n
H
2
n

1
4b
a tan
y
n1
y
n
x
n1
x
n
a tan
y
n
y
n1
x
n
x
n1
_ _
;
18
which are the normally used formulas (Brebbia and
Dominguez, 1989). Eq. (17) takes also care of ex/internal
problems with H
1
n

ext
1 H
1
n

int
and H
2
n

ext

1 H
2
n

int
as the only modications in Eq. (16).
Numerical integration, e.g. by Gaussian quadrature,
does not have these advantages and is less precise,
especially when approaching to a boundary as is shown
in Section 3.
The boundary solution is based on Eq. (13) applied to
each boundary node so that every single equation can
incorporate one unknown (potential or ux) for every
node, corresponding to Greens third identity Eq. (9) for
a eld point P on S; yielding a system of N equations

N
k1
u
k
x; y

N
n1
H
1
k;n
u
n
H
2
k;n
u
n1

N
n1
G
1
k;n
q
n
G
2
k;n
q
n1

_
; b p; 19
which can be rewritten in matrix form as
Hu Gq; 20
where the unknowns are on both sides. Reordering
Eq. (20) results in (Brebbia, 1978)
Ax y ) x A
1
y; 21
where A is a regular NN matrix, x a N1 vector of
unknowns (potentials or uxes), and y a given N1
vector. Eq. (21) can be solved by standard matrix
inversion formulas so that both potentials and uxes
are known at every boundary node. This is the boundary
solution. Then the ex/internal solution for non-bound-
ary points can be directly computed from Eq. (13) which
is a discretized form of Greens third identity Eq. (9)
ux; y

N
n1
G
1
n
q
n
G
2
n
q
n1
H
1
n
u
n
H
2
n
u
n1
;
b
2p for P inside V;
0 for P outside V;
_
22
The uxes of ex/internal points are given by
qx; y
qux; y
qn
qux; y
@x
_ _
qx
qn
_ _

qux; y
qy
_ _
@y
@n
_ _

N
n1
qG
1
n
qx
q
n

qG
2
n
qx
q
n1
_

qH
1
n
qx
u
n

qH
2
n
qx
u
n1
_
@x
@n
_ _

N
n1
qG
1
n
qy
q
n

qG
2
n
qy
q
n1
_

qH
1
n
qy
u
n

qH
2
n
qy
u
n1

@y
@n
_ _
;
23
where the analytically gained derivatives of the terms G
and H according to Eqs. (1517) can be found in the
appendix. Depending on the type of problem, internal or
external, Eqs. (22) and (23) produce a zero result for
external or internal points, respectively, allowing to
check the described solution algorithm apart from using
other benchmark tests.
3. Examples and benchmark tests
In this section, four examples and benchmark tests
(two internal, two external) will be described in order to
evaluate the proposed linear analytical BEM. For this,
the derived algorithm was incorporated in an update of
the CFDLab 1.1 for Windows
TM
program (Friedrich,
1999), oering a visual interactive user interface that
allows simple and fast pre-processing, computations,
and post-processing to solve these type of problems.
3.1. Uniform potential ow through two parallel walls
The rst example and benchmark test deals with
uniform potential ow through two parallel and
horizontal walls (no ux condition at top and bottom
boundary), and a potential dierence of +1.0 between
the left and right boundary. Every side of the square in
Fig. 3 has a length of 1.0 (Prasuhn, 1980).
The proposed algorithm works with four boundary
elements E
n
n 4 and boundary nodes with x; y
coordinates P
1
x; y 0; 0; P
2
x; y 1; 0; P
3
x; y=
(1,1), P
4
x; y 0; 1: After the boundary solution,
which automatically delivers the correct solution on
the boundary, the internal solution can be obtained
J. Friedrich / Computers & Geosciences 28 (2002) 679692 682
which gives exactly zero for potentials and uxes at all
points outside of the square (the problem volume)
according to Eqs. (22) and (23). The correct solution for
internal potential and ux values is given by
ux; y 1 x; q
x
x; y
qux; y
qx
1;
q
y
x; y
qux; y
qy
0: 24
The internal potentials linearly decrease from one to zero
when moving from the left to the right boundary (Fig. 4a),
whereas the internal uxes are constant everywhere in the
volume, resulting in a uniform ow to the right as plotted
in Fig. 4b.
The results of CFDLab and the proposed algorithm
are labeled with the tag Linear Analytically BEM
(LABEM) and compared to the correct solution and
four other boundary element methods (Brebbia and
Dominguez, 1989):
*
Constant Analytically BEM (CABEM),
*
Constant Numerically BEM (CNBEM) using 4-
point Gaussian quadrature formulas (GQF),
*
Linear Numerically BEM (LNBEM) with 6- point
GQF, and
*
Quadratic Numerically BEM (QNBEM) with 10-
point GQF, where four more boundary nodes are
placed in the center of each boundary element E
n
in
Fig. 3.
The outcome is printed in Table 1. where the internal
points IP
i
; i f1; 2; y; 5g; are moved from the square
center along its diagonal to the left bottom corner in
Fig. 3.
As can be seen from this table, LABEM gives always
the correct results independent from the distance to a
boundary element or node, whereas all other methods
become unstable and inaccurate for a distance
rZ=l
n
o0:1 when a eld point is moved closer to a
boundary. Thus, BEM techniques that approximate the
involved boundary integrals by numerical schemes like
Gaussian quadrature become unreliable when approach-
ing a boundary, whereby uxes of eld points are more
aected than their potentials because the ux singularity
is of order 1=rZ smaller than the singularity of
potentials according to Eqs. (22) and (23).
3.2. Warping function of an elliptical cross-section
The second example of an internal potential problem
considers the warping function ux; y as part of a
torsion problem for an elliptical cross-section x
2
=a
2

y
2
=b
2
1 with a semimajor and -minor axis of a 2
and b 1 (Brebbia and Dominguez, 1989). The
analytical solution is given by
ux; y
b
2
a
2
xy
a
2
b
2
25
and the normal derivatives by
qu
qn

a
2
b
2
xy

a
4
y
2
b
4
x
2
_ : 26
Due its symmetry, only the rst quarter of the problem
domain needs to be discretized, using Eq. (25) as
boundary condition on both the coordinate axis
(potential=u=0), and Eq. (26) as a non linear boundary
condition on the elliptical section with a total number of
12 boundary nodes (Fig. 5).
The described warping problem was again solved by
using CFDLab together with the proposed algorithm
(Fig. 6a and b).
Repeating the comparison of dierent methods
as done in the last example, the following results
were gained (Table 2) when moving from an internal
point (x; y)=(0.5, 0.5) towards the boundary approach-
ing the boundary node n=8 at (x; y)=(1.2400, 0.7846)
(Fig. 5).
These results conrm the ndings of the rst example;
the LABEM provides more precise results compared to
the other methods except QNBEM for internal eld
points not closer to the boundary than about
rZ=l
n
o0:1; originating from a better approximation
of curved boundaries and non-linear boundary condi-
tions by quadratic shape functions.
3.3. Dirichlets problem to determine a spherical earth
model
The rst external problem to be considered is that
of Dirichlet or the rst boundary value problem
of potential theory. If the boundary is a sphere of
radius a
e
; as is the situation for a spherical earth
model, the analytical external solution in spherical
coordinates r; y; l in a geocentric, north-pole
Fig. 3. Potential ow in square with four boundary nodes and
elements (l
n
1:0 m).
J. Friedrich / Computers & Geosciences 28 (2002) 679692 683
oriented coordinate system is given by (Heiskanen and
Moritz, 1985)
ur; y; l k

N
n0
a
e
r
_ _
n1
n
m0
A
nm
cos ml
B
nm
sin ml P
nm
cos y; 27
where k is the gravity constant and P
nm
cos y
the Legendres functions. The gradient (ux) of
Eq. (27) in Cartesian coordinates w
i
x; y; z
i
is
obtained by (Ilk, 1983)
qur; y; l
qw
i
k

N
n0
a
n1
e

n
m0
A
nm
qC
nm
=r
n1
@w
i
B
nm
qS
nm
=r
n1
@w
i
_ _
;
C
nm
P
nm
cos y cos ml; S
nm
P
nm
cosy sin ml;
28
Fig. 4. (a) Boundary and 3D plot of potentials; (b) 2D vector plot of internal uxes.
J. Friedrich / Computers & Geosciences 28 (2002) 679692 684
yielding
where d
ij
is the Dirac delta tensor, and the argument of
Legendres functions is changed to P
nm
sin y: The
determination of the constant coecients A
nm
and B
nm
is based on the orthogonality relations of the spherical
harmonics (Heiskanen and Moritz, 1985):
A
n0

2n 1
4p
_
S
Fy; lP
nm
cos y ds;
A
nm

2n 1
2p
n m!
n m!
_
S
Fy; lP
nm
cos y cos ml ds
for ma0;
B
nm

2n 1
2p
n m!
n m!
_
S
Fy; lP
nm
cos y sin ml ds
for ma0;
30
where Fy; l is a known function on the surface S;
allowing to compute A
nm
and B
nm
by integration of
Eq. (30). For a spherical earth model, the geoid is
approximated by a sphere of radius a
e
with the following
potential as boundary condition (m
e
and o are the
Earths mass and angular velocity)
Fy; l % ur a
e
; y; l 0
km
e
a
e

1
2
o
2
a
2
e
cos
2
y;
31
qur; y; l=qw
1
2
3
_

_
_

_ k

N
n0
a
n1
e
2r
n2
_ _

n
m0
A
nm
1 d
0m
n m 2n m 1C
n1;m1
1 d
0m
C
n1;m1
1 d
0m
n m 2n m 1S
n1;m1
1 d
0m
S
n1;m1
2n m 1C
n1;m
_

_
_

_
_
_
_
B
nm
1 d
0m
n m 2n m 1S
n1;m1
1 d
0m
S
n1;m1
1 d
0m
n m 2n m 1C
n1;m1
1 d
0m
C
n1;m1
2n m 1S
n1;m
_

_
_

_
_
_
_; 29
Table 1
Potentials ux; y; uxes q
x
(x,y) and q
y
x; y for the potential ow problem in a square (all dierences Correct x BEM are absolute
values)
IP
i
Correct Correct - Correct - Correct - Correct - Correct -
x
i
y
i
solution LABEM CABEM CNBEM LNBEM QNBEM
Potentials ux; y (m
2
s
2
)
0.5 0.5 0.50 00 0.00 00 0.00 00 0.00 07 0.00 00 0.00 00
0.1 0.1 0.90 00 0.00 00 0.09 18 0.09 66 0.01 41 0.00 27
0.01 0.01 0.99 00 0.00 00 0.15 17 0.59 12 0.30 56 0.32 01
0.001 0.001 0.99 90 0.00 00 0.16 18 0.72 03 0.72 33 0.66 96
0.0001 0.0001 0.99 99 0.00 00 0.16 32 0.73 06 0.74 96 0.25 03
Fluxes q
x
x; y (ms
2
)
0.5 0.5 1.00 00 0.00 00 0.09 44 0.09 66 0.00 00 0.00 00
0.1 0.1 1.00 00 0.00 00 0.12 64 1.26 86 0.85 79 0.10 50
0.01 0.01 1.00 00 0.00 00 3.68 76 9.91 76 30.86 51 7.36 91
0.001 0.001 1.00 00 0.00 00 39.49 56 7.50 79 15.74 17 46.60 71
0.0001 0.0001 1.00 00 0.00 00 397.59 41 7.28 38 14.41 91 36.89 69
Fluxes q
y
x; y (ms
2
)
0.5 0.5 0.00 00 0.00 00 0.00 00 0.00 00 0.00 00 0.00 00
0.1 0.1 0.00 00 0.00 00 0.62 85 1.16 12 0.94 47 0.10 64
0.01 0.01 0.00 00 0.00 00 4.66 74 7.28 52 30.69 69 6.63 94
0.001 0.001 0.00 00 0.00 00 4.91 040 4.20 47 14.86 27 45.79 10
0.0001 0.0001 0.00 00 0.00 00 399.43 99 3.96 29 13.51 27 35.99 50
Fig. 5. Determination of a warping function in the rst quarter
of an elliptic cross-section with 12 boundary nodes
(l
max
n
0:5 m).
J. Friedrich / Computers & Geosciences 28 (2002) 679692 685
so that only zonal components are left in Eq. (30),
resulting in
A
00

km
e
a
e

1
3
o
2
a
2
e
; A
20

1
3
o
2
a
2
e
: 32
All other coecients are zero. Inserting Eq. (32) into
Eqs. (27) and (29) gives
ur; y
km
e
r

1
2
o
2
r
2
cos
2
y; 33
qur; y
qw
i
km
e
w
i
r
3
A
ijl
o
j
A
lmn
o
m
w
n
; 34
where the rst part is the central gravity potential and
acceleration, the second part the centrifugal potential
and acceleration, and e
ijk
the epsilon tensor. For a 2D
problem (km
e
=r) and (km
e i
/r
3
) in Eqs. (33) and (34)
are replaced by (km
e
ln(r)) and km
e
w
i
=r
2
) according to
Eqs. (7) and (8). After discretizing the boundary (the
Greenwhich meridian l 0) with 36 boundary nodes
Fig. 6. (a) Boundary and 3D plot of potentials; (b) 2D vector plot of internal uxes.
J. Friedrich / Computers & Geosciences 28 (2002) 679692 686
(Fig. 7) and using Eq. (33) as boundary condition, the
same procedure as in the previous paragraph is
analogously applied (y-components=0).
The described Dirichlet problem was solved with
CFDLab and the proposed algorithm (Fig. 8a and b),
where z-components were treated as y-components
inside of CFDLab. For convenience, the problem
dimension was scaled to values between zero and 1000,
using the following parameters: a
e
=100.0 m, km
e
=
1000.0 m
3
s
2
, o=0.01 s
1
, l
n
17:45 m.
The gained results for potentials and gradients were
compared with the correct values according to Eqs. (33)
and (34) and listed in Table 3 when moving from an ex-
ternal point EP
i
(i=1) with coordinates (r; y)=(150.0m,
30.01) towards the boundary approaching the boundary
node n=4 at (r; y)=(100.0m, 30.01) (Fig. 7).
The gures in this table conrm the results of the
other examples; LABEM provides more precise results
compared to the numerical methods which become
unsafe for external eld points closer to the boundary
than about rZ=l
n
o0:3 (E5/17), whereas the other
analytical method CABEM oers the same precision as
LABEM, at least for the uxes.
3.4. Third boundary value problem to determine geoidal
heights
The second external problem deals with the disturbing
potential Tx; y; z used to determine geoidal heights.
Tx; y; z; dened as the dierence between the actual
and the normal gravity potential (Heiskanen and
Moritz, 1985)
Tx; y; z Wx; y; z Ux; y; z; 35
satises Laplaces equation
DT
q
2
T
qx
2

q
2
T
qy
2

q
2
T
qz
2
0; 36
and can therefore be determined by a third boundary
value problem of potential theory. In spherical approx-
Table 2
Potentials ux; y; uxes q
x
x; y and q
y
x; y for warping function in elliptic cross-section (all dierences Correct - x BEM are absolute
values)
IP
i
Correct - Correct - Correct - Correct - Correct - Correct -
x
i
y
i
solution LABEM CABEM CNBEM LNBEM QNBEM
Potentials ux; y (m
2
s
2
)
0.5 0.5 0.30 00 0.00 20 0.00 48 0.00 48 0.00 20 0.00 02
1.2 0.7 0.50 40 0.00 76 0.02 16 0.02 14 0.00 76 0.00 30
1.23 0.77 0.56 83 0.00 70 0.02 86 0.06 27 0.01 55 0.17 13
1.239 0.783 0.58 21 0.00 63 0.03 03 0.28 53 0.23 93 0.28 81
1.2399 0.7845 0.58 36 0.00 62 0.03 24 0.31 69 0.30 73 0.30 21
Fluxes q
x
x; y (ms
2
)
0.5 0.5 0.30 00 0.00 48 0.00 91 0.00 91 0.00 48 0.00 03
1.2 0.7 0.42 00 0.00 84 0.00 23 0.04 96 0.01 56 0.11 79
1.23 0.77 0.46 20 0.00 06 0.28 20 5.37 33 1.52 85 3.02 43
1.239 0.783 0.46 98 0.01 24 3.46 26 6.94 04 15.23 14 3.13 60
1.2399 0.7845 0.47 07 0.03 42 39.02 30 6.93 84 14.87 96 3.14 84
Fluxes q
y
x; y (ms
2
)
0.5 0.5 0.60 00 0.00 38 0.00 84 0.00 84 0.00 38 0.00 09
1.2 0.7 0.72 00 0.00 09 0.06 21 0.00 01 0.00 87 0.18 90
1.23 0.77 0.73 80 0.03 22 0.33 26 6.25 59 1.40 34 5.88 56
1.239 0.783 0.74 34 0.08 81 2.35 00 16.90 87 35.70 36 7.45 62
1.2399 0.7845 0.74 39 0.15 21 39.27 44 16.82 10 36.31 62 7.48 71
Fig. 7. Determination of spherical earth model on circle with
36 boundary nodes.
J. Friedrich / Computers & Geosciences 28 (2002) 679692 687
imation, the boundary values are given by
Dg
qT
qn

2
a
e
T; a
e
6:37110
6
m; 37
where Dg are the gravity anomalies assumed to be
known on the geoid and a
e
the radius of the sphere.
After obtaining the solution for Tx; y; z; the geoidal
heights N are computed via Bruns theorem
N T=g; g 9:798 m s
2
; 38
where g is the normal gravity on the sphere. A direct
formula to compute geoidal heights from gravity
anomalies is Stokes integral
N
a
e
4pg
_
S
Dg Sc ds; 39
where Sc is the Stokes function dened by
Sc 1 sin
1
c=2 6 sinc=2 5 cosc
3 cosc lnsinc=2 sin
2
c=2; 40
Fig. 8. (a) Boundary and 3D plot of potentials; (b) 2D vector plot of gradients.
J. Friedrich / Computers & Geosciences 28 (2002) 679692 688
and c is the spherical distance between a source and a
eld point. Comparing Eqs. (37)(40) with (7)(10)
shows how Stokes integral is related to Greens
identities and the BEM formulation used in this work.
In other words, Stokes integral is an equivalent
expression in spherical polar coordinates for the external
BEM solution of potentials given by Eqs. (7)(10), or by
Eq. (22) after the boundary discretization for a 2D
problem. This becomes clearer when constant boundary
elements are used for which Eq. (22) simplies to
Tx; y

N
n1
G
n
qT
qn
_ _
n
H
n
T
n
_ _
;
b
2p for P insideV;
0 for P outsideV:
_
41
where the transformation equations
r
n
2a
e
sinc=2; r
n1
2a
e
sinc
n1
=2; 42
are inserted into the following formulas for the terms G
n
and H
n
:
G
n

1
2
G
1
n
G
2
n

l
n
2b
_
1 ln r
n1
ln r
n

b
4a
ln r
2
n1
ln r
2
n

d
4a
f
n
_
;
H
n

1
2
H
1
n
H
2
n

s
n
2b
f
n
: 43
In order to verify the proposed analytical algorithm with
this problem, the disturbing potential is developed in a
series of spherical harmonics using coordinates r; y; l; as
was done in the last paragraph (Heiskanen and Moritz,
1985)
Tr; y; l

N
n0
a
e
r
_ _
n1
n
m0

%
A
nm
cos ml

%
B
nm
sin mlP
nm
cos y: 44
The gradient of Eq. (44) is correspondingly given by
Table 3
Potentials ux; y; gradients q
x
x; y and q
y
x; y for spherical earth model (all dierences Correctx BEM are absolute values)
EP
i
Correct - Correct - Correct - Correct - Correct - Correct -
r
i
y
i
Solution LABEM CABEM CNBEM LNBEM QNBEM
Potentials ur; y (m
2
s
2
)
150.0 30.01 5011.48 0.83 75 2.88 28 2.83 06 0.83 75 0.31 14
110.0 30.01 4700.93 1.14 97 3.06 82 2.79 54 1.15 14 0.01 33
105.0 30.01 4654.37 1.07 37 2.97 30 3.95 46 0.94 96 13.36 52
101.0 30.0o 4615.50 0.56 86 2.45 12 112.01 61 70.53 13 1060.57 13
100.1 30.01 4606.55 0.11 84 1.99 68 1834.51 60 1497.39 55 2158.32 72
Gradients q
x
r; y (ms
2
)
150.0 30.01 5.76 05 0.01 49 0.01 72 0.01 72 0.01 49 0.01 36
110.0 30.01 7.86 34 0.01 91 0.02 24 0.14 18 0.01 74 0.07 73
105.0 30.0o 8.23 88 0.05 41 0.05 80 3.21 93 0.29 60 12.90 04
101.0 30.01 8.56 58 0.29 17 0.30 05 572.13 12 52.20 17 845. 32 85
100.1 30.01 8.46 29 0.80 49 0.86 82 2845.31 80 5431.15 01 1197.53 97
Gradients q
y
r; y (ms
2
)
150.0 30.01 3.33 33 0.00 04 0.00 10 0.00 09 0.00 04 0.00 12
110.0 30.01 4.54 55 0.00 18 0.00 35 0.07 25 0.00 08 0.03 54
105.0 30.01 4.76 19 0.02 17 0.02 29 1.86 93 0.16 13 7.43 84
101.0 30.01 4.95 05 0.15 84 0.15 19 330.28 61 30.14 97 488.03 92
100.1 30.01 4.99 50 0.45 43 0.35 48 1642.7490 3135.68 48 691.39 22
qur; y; l=qw
1
2
3
_

_
_

N
n0
a
n1
e
2r
n2
_ _

n
m0
%
A
nm
1 d
0m
n m 2n m 1C
n1;m1
1 d
0m
C
n1;m1
1 d
0m
n m 2n m 1S
n1;m1
1 d
0m
S
n1;m1
2n m 1C
n1;m
_

_
_

_
_
_
_

%
B
nm
1 d
0m
n m 2n m 1S
n1;m1
1 d
0m
S
n1;m1
1 d
0m
n m 2n m 1C
n1;m1
1 d
0m
C
n1;m1
2n m 1S
n1;m
_

_
_

_
_
_
_; 45
J. Friedrich / Computers & Geosciences 28 (2002) 679692 689
The problem is restricted to just zonal coecients up to
an order of n 2
%
A
00
10;
%
A
20

%
A
21

%
A
22
300: 46
All other coecients are zero. By applying Eqs. (44)
(46) as boundary conditions, the problem was solved
with CFDLab and the proposed algorithm (Fig. 9a and
b where y : z), using the same boundary discretization
as in the earlier paragraph: 36 boundary nodes (Fig. 7)
with a
e
6.371 10
6
m and l
n
E1.1 10
6
m.
The ux vectors in Fig. 9b are othogonal to the
geoidal surface dened by Eqs. (44)(46), displayed in
the right window of Fig. 9a. The gained results for
potentials and gradients were compared with the correct
values according to Eqs. (44) and 46) and listed in
Table 4 when moving from an external point
Fig. 9. (a) Boundary and 3D plot of potentials; (b) 2D vector plot of gradients.
J. Friedrich / Computers & Geosciences 28 (2002) 679692 690
(r; y)=(6.4 10
6
m, 30.01) towards the boundary ap-
proaching the boundary node n=4 at
(r; y)=(6.371 10
6
m, 30.01) (Fig. 7).
The numbers in this table arm the results of the other
examples; the LABEM delivers more precise results
compared to the numerical methods which become
unreliable for external eld points closer to the boundary
than about rZ=l
n
o0:1: Here, all external eld points are
located within this limit. In this example, only the ux
precision of the other analytical method CABEM is as
good as or sometimes even better than the LABEM. This
may happen when the potential eld as well as the
boundary geometry and conditions are better modeled
by constant than by linear analytical elements. Further,
relative ux errors of both analytical methods can exceed
100% in this example when approaching the boundary.
4. Conclusions
The objective of this work was to introduce a more
robust and precise algorithm for 2D homogeneous
potential problems in comparison to numerical meth-
ods. The proposed algorithm is based on analytically
integrated boundary elements with linear shape func-
tions which allow numerical schemes and coordinate
transformations to be avoided. But this method cannot
be extended to heterogeneous and non-linear problems
because in such cases, the governing equations contain
non-homogeneous parts which can only be incorporated
by means of domain integrals so that the BEM loses its
original attraction of a boundary-only method. The
dual reciprocity method (DRM) appears to be a solution
to this diculty (Partridge et al., 1992), but it is less
accurate than analytical BEMs. The DRM uses a
fundamental solution to a simpler governing equation
and takes into account the remaining non-homogeneous
terms in the original equation by applying reciprocity
principles and certain approximating functions. This is
the reason why it is being used in the CFDLab program
for solving other type of problems like Poisson, diusion
or convectiondiusion ones. Due to the good results
gained so far, it is planned to extend the described
linear analytical BEM to three-dimensional potential
problems
Acknowledgements
I would like to thank the reviewers and Osman
B. orekci at Bosphorus University in Istanbul for their
helpful comments. My special thanks go to Hewlett-
Packard (HP) GmbH in Germany for their general
support of this work.
Appendix
The derivatives of the G- and H-terms according to
Eqs. (14)(17) to compute the uxes of ex/internal
points are given by (b 2p)
Table 4
Disturbing potentials Tr; y; gradients T
x
r; y and T
y
r; y (all dierences Correctx BEM are absolute values)
EP
i
Correct - Correct - Correct - Correct - Correct - Correct -
r
i
(106 m) y
i
Solution LABEM CABEM CNBEM LNBEM QNBEM
Disturbing potentials Tr; y (m
2
s
2
)
6.400 30.01 1023.27 9.11 41 361.88 89 545.49 16 26.47 09 269.98 03
6.380 30.01 1032.86 2.74 06 377.04 96 604.81 91 278.99 48 379.42 15
6.372 30.01 1036.73 0.28 04 383.19 18 629.79 50 464.97 26 424.97 54
6.37109 30.01 1037.17 0.02 27 383.89 33 632.67 08 488.08 74 430.18 21
6.371009 30.01 1037.21 0.00 20 383.95 57 632.92 71 490.15 48 430.64 57
Gradients T
x
r; y (10
4
ms
2
)
6.400 30.01 4.17 35 3.45 45 6.45 86 16.15 51 44.22 25 41.07 83
6.380 30.01 4.22 60 3.79 82 6.58 28 18.21 56 170.67 00 44.81 63
6.372 30.01 4.24 72 4.39 46 6.63 17 18.80 23 211.54 65 45.36 72
6.37109 30.01 4.24 96 5.03 05 6.63 73 18.85 87 213.62 42 45. 39 28
6.371009 30.01 4.24 98 5.71 46 6.63 78 18.86 36 213.77 75 45.39 47
Gradients T
y
r; y (10
4
ms
2
)
6.400 30.0o 2.30 22 0.43 99 3.83 34 9.64 63 24.00 16 23.68 20
6.380 30.0o 2.33 12 0.29 15 3.89 86 10.83 21 96.29 91 25.81 24
6.372 30.0o 2.34 29 1.77 20 3.92 40 11.16 91 119.68 96 26.12 01
6.37109 30.01 2.34 42 3.43 08 3.92 69 11.20 15 120.87 42 26.13 37
6.371009 30.01 2.34 44 4.99 64 3.92 72 11.20 43 120.96 15 26.13 47
J. Friedrich / Computers & Geosciences 28 (2002) 679692 691
References
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Engineering. McGraw-Hill, New York, 452pp.
Brebbia, C.A., 1978. The Boundary Element Method for
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Brebbia, C.A., Dominguez, J., 1989. Boundary Elements: An
Introductory Course. McGraw-Hill, New York, 466pp.
Camp, C.C., 1992. Direct evaluation of singular boundary
integrals in two-dimensional biharmonic analysis. Interna-
tional Journal for Numerical Methods in Engineering 35,
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Friedrich, J., 1999. Object-oriented design and implementation
of CFDLab: a computer-assisted learning tool for uid
dynamics using dual reciprocity boundary element metho-
dology. Computers & Geosciences 27 (7), 785800. The latest
version can be downloaded at http://bsttc.marhost.com.
Greenberg, M.D., 1971. Application of Greens Functions in
Science and Engineering. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Clis,
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Institute of Physical Geodesy, Technical University of Graz,
Austria, 364pp.
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K. orperFGravitationswechselwirkung. Deutsche Geod-
. atische Kommission Reihe C 288, M. unchen, 124pp.
Klees, R., 1996. Numerical calculation of weakly singular
surface integrals. Journal of Geodesy 70, 781797.
Partridge, P.W., Brebbia, C.A., Wrobel, L.C., 1992. The Dual
Reciprocity Boundary Element Method. Elsevier Science
Oxford, London, 280pp.
Prasuhn, A.L., 1980. Fundamentals of Fluid Mechanics.
Prentice Hall, Englewood Clis, NJ, 563pp.
qG
1
n
qx
qG
1
n
qy
qG
2
n
qx
qG
2
n
qy
_

_
_

l
n
4b
x
n1
x
n
2
x
_ _
x
n
x
x
n1
x
n
2
_ _
y
n1
y
n
2
m
_ _
y
n
m
y
n1
y
n
2
_ _
x
n1
x
n
2
x
_ _
x
n1
x
x
n1
x
n
2
_ _
y
n1
y
n
2
m
_ _
y
n1
m
y
n1
y
n
2
_ _
_

_
_

_
K
0
K
1
K
2
_

_
_

_; A:1
K
0
f
n
; K
1

1
2a
ln r
2
n1
ln r
2
n

b
2a
f
n
; K
2

2
a

b
2a
2
ln r
2
n1
ln r
2
n

b
2
2ac
2a
2
f
n
;
qH
1
n
qx
qH
1
n
qy
qH
2
n
qx
@H
2
n
@y
_

_
_

s
n
2b
x
n1
x
n
2
x
_ _
x
n
x
x
n1
x
n
2
_ _
y
n1
y
n
2
m
_ _
y
n
m
y
n1
y
n
2
_ _
x
n1
x
n
2
x
_ _
x
n1
x
x
n1
x
n
2
_ _
y
n1
y
n
2
m
_ _
y
n1
m
y
n1
y
n
2
_ _
_

_
_

_
M
0
M
1
M
2
_

_
_

_
N
0
N
1
N
2
N
3
_

_
_

_
; A:2
M
0

2a b
dr
2
n1

2a b
dr
2
n

2a
d
f
n
; M
1

b 2c
dr
2
n1

b 2c
dr
2
n

b
d
f
n
;
M
2

b
2
2ac bc
adr
2
n1

b
2
2ac bc
adr
2
n

2c
d
f
n
;
N
0
N
1
N
2
N
3
_

_
_

1
2b

y
n1
y
n
2
_ _
y
n1
y
n
2
_ _
x
n1
x
n
2
_ _

x
n1
x
n
2
_ _

y
n1
y
n
2
_ _

y
n1
y
n
2
_ _
x
n1
x
n
2
_ _
x
n1
x
n
2
_ _
_

_
_

_
f
n
1
2a
ln r
2
n1
ln r
2
n

b
2a
f
n
_
_
_
_
_
_
:
J. Friedrich / Computers & Geosciences 28 (2002) 679692 692