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Numer. Math.

33, 235-271 (1979) Numerische

9 by Springer-Verlag 1979

An Analysis of a Mixed Finite Element Method

for the Navier-Stokes Equations

V. Girault and P.A. Raviart*

Analyse Num6rique, T55-65. Universit6 Pierre et Marie Curie, 4 Place Jussieu, 75230 Paris Cedex
05, France

Summary. A simple mixed finite element method is developed to solve the

steady state, incompressible Navier-Stokes equations in a neighborhood of
an isolated - but not necessarily unique - solution. Convergence is estab-
lished under very mild restrictions on the triangulation, and, when the
solution is sufficiently smooth, optimal error bounds are obtained.
Subject Class~cations: AMS (MOS): 65N30; CR: 5.17.

I. Introduction

Let f2 be a bounded domain of ~2 with a Lipschitz-continuous boundary F; we

consider the stationary Navier-Stokes system of equations governing the flow of
a viscous incompressible fluid:

--vAu+ uiT--+gr--~ap=fin f2, (1.1)
i= 1 CXi

d i v u = 0 in f2, (1.2)

where n=(ul,u2) is the velocity, p the pressure, f the body forces and v>0 the
in the last few years, considerable efforts have been made by both the
Engineers and the Mathematicians concerning the construction of finite element
solutions of the Navier-Stokes equations. In the "classical" finite element
methods (abbreviated into F.E.M.), the velocity is assumed to be continuous at
the interelement boundaries while the incompressibility constraint (1.2) is only
approximately satisfied. Such methods have been first introduced and developed
by the Engineers and we refer for instance to [1, 33, 14] and various papers
contained in [13, 31] for recent developments in the Engineering literature. This
* Analyse Num6rique, Universit6 Pierre & Marie Curie, 75230 Paris Cedex 05, France

236 V. Girault and P.A. Raviart

type of F.E.M. has been also studied by the Mathematicians and the correspond-
ing Numerical Analysis is now fairly complete: see [11, 20, 3, 18, 12, 34, 32].
On the other hand, one can exactly satisfy the incompressibility constraint
by using the stream-function formulation of the Navier-Stokes equations and C 1
sophisticated finite elements of limited applicability: in this direction, see
The purpose of this paper is to discuss a mixed F.E.M. in which the
divergence condition is exactly satisfied at the expense however of relaxing the
continuity of the tangential velocity at the interelement boundaries and in-
troducing the vorticity co=curlu as a new dependent variable. In fact, this
method which has already been used in [t6] to solve the Stokes problem,
appears to be in many respects a generalization of a mixed F.E.M. introduced in
[17, 10] to approximate the biharmonic equation. Moreover, this F.E.M. is
related to the work of Engineers using a stream function-vorticity formulation
[7, 4, 2] and may be also viewed as a finite element extension of the classical
Marker and Cell (M.A.C.) finite difference method [36] (cf. [15] for a previous
extension of the M.A.C. method). We refer also to [-28] for a closely related
work and [21] for a similar - but technically different - approach where the
vorticity is replaced by the viscous stress tensor as a dependent variable.
Just for convenience, we shall restrict ourselves in all the sequel to the case of
a simply connected domain f2 and homogeneous boundary conditions of the

u=0 on F. (1.3)

Let us mention however that our analysis can be easily extended to the case of a
multiply connected domain and nonhomogeneous boundary conditions for the
An outline of the paper is as follows. Section 2 is devoted to the derivation of
a mixed variational formulation of the Navier-Stokes problem (1.1)-(1.3) and of
the corresponding F.E.M. In Sect. 3, we introduce the finite element spaces and
establish v~irious useful properties of these spaces. Section4 deals with the
convergence of the mixed F.E.M. when applied to the linear Stokes problem. We
study in Sect. 5 the linearized Navier-Stokes problem. The previous technical
results are then used to derive the convergence properties of the mixed F.E.M.
towards an isolated solution of the Navier-Stokes equations: we examine in
Sect. 6 the approximation of the velocity and the vorticity whereas Sect. 7 is
concerned with the approximation of the pressure. Finally, we make clear in
Sect. 8 the close connection that exists between our F.E.M. and the M.A.C.
difference method.
Throughout this paper, we shall constantly use the classical Sobolev spaces

W'~'P(~2) = {yeLP(f2); c3"v--=63x~

c31~+v e LP(Q), 1~1=~ +~z 5 m}
, C~X~22

equipped with the norms and semi-norms

Mixed Finite Element Method for the Navier-Stokes Equations 237

" ~ LP(f2)]
IV tm, p , ~ = ( 2 11(~1) LP(~)}
p ]l/p
with the obvious modifications for p = oo. We set as usual

W2'P(Q)={veWl""(O); vlr=0},
and, for p=2, we define
H"(O) = W", :(~), II" I1.,.~-- II" [I,,,, 2,~, I'[.,,o =l'[m.2,~-
We shall also use the spaces

L2o(Y2)={qcL2(y2); ~ qdx=O}

H(div; Q)={v=(v~, v2)@L2(~~)2; divv ~XI
(~t'l ~t- (~U2
X 2 @g2(~r~)}.

Note that if v belongs to H(div; f~) and n denotes the exterior unit normal to F,
then v-n is well defined in H-~(F) and the Green's formula holds:

~(v.gradq0+q0divv)dx=(v-n,q~) r for all qoeHl(f2), (1.4)

where (., ")r denotes the duality between H-~(F) and H~(F).
We set

Ho(div; O)= {v~H(div; f2); v - n = 0 on F}.

Finally, we shall denote by (-, ") the scalar product in L2(O) or in L2(O)2.

2. A Mixed Approximation of the Navier-Stokes Equations

We first recall that the classical formulation of the Navier-Stokes problem (1.1)-
(1.3) (cf. [23, 24, 34]) consists in finding a pair (u, p)eH~(f2) 2 x L2(~?) such that

~[ exjOxj ~xj } dx=O for all veH~(O) 2,
div u = 0.

In (2,1), we have used the standard summation convention.

Let us next derive a mixed formulation of the Navier-Stokes problem. We
introduce the space
g =H~(~"~) 2 x L2(Q) (2.2)
238 V. Girault and P.A. Raviart

whose elements are denoted by _u=(u, ~o), v = ( v , 0), w = ( w , z), ... and we consider
the following subspaces of Y:

X = { r e Y; div v = 0}, (2.3)

W = {v~ Y; curl v = 0}, (2.4)
V = X n W = {_ve Y; div v = 0, curl v = 0}, (2.5)

Ov2 8vl
where curl v = Since, for veH~(~2) 2, we have
8x 1 Ox z"
[vlt,~2 = divv g ~ + t t c u r l v l t g , a ,

the s e m i - n o r m

_v= (v, 0)-* [_vl= II01lo,e (2.6)

is a n o r m over the space V which is equivalent to the n o r m

_v--~ II_vllr=(tvll,~ + IIOtI~,~P.
We now define a continuous bilinear form a0(. , .): Y x Y - , I R and a continuous
trilinear f o r m a~('; ", "): Y x Y x Y ~ I R by

ao(U_,Vv) =v ~ (.oOdx, (2.7)

a~(w; u~v)= ~ ~(ul v2-u2vOdx. (2.8)

By the classical Sobolev imbedding theorem, we have H~(f2)cLP(f2) for all

1 < p < oo so that the trilinear form a l ( - ; -, -) is indeed continuous on Y x Y x Y.
W e set

a(w; u, _v)= ao (u__,_v)+ a 1(w; u_, _v) (2.9)


la~ ~; u,_v)l
N= sup , (2.10)
~_,_o,~v lul I_vl[_w[
t(f, v)l
If I* = s u p (2.11)
o~v Lvl
T h e n we introduce another formulation of p r o b l e m (1.1)-(1.3): Find a pair
(u__,p)s V x LZo(f2) such that
a(u;u_,v)-(P+89 divv)--(f,v) for all v_EW. (2.12)

Clearly, if ( u , p ) e V x LZo(f2) is a solution of (2.12), then u e V is a solution of

a(_u; u, _.v)=(f, v) for all _wV. (2.13)

The converse is part of the following theorem.

Mixed Finite Element Method for the Navier-Stokes Equations 239

Theorem 2.1. A pair (u=(u, co=curlu),p)eVxL2o(O) is a solution of (2.12)

iff(u, p) is a solution of the Navier-Stokes problem (1.1)-(1.3) and we have

I_ul< +'- 1lfl*. (2.14)

This solution is unique under the condition

Nv-2if], < 1. (2.15)

Moreover, given a solution ue V of(2.13), there exists a unique function pcLZo(f2)

such that the pair (u, p) is a solution of (2.12).
Proof First, we remark that for u, wH~(f~)2:

aui c%i . .
~ -~xj
dx = j (dw u div v + curl u curl v) dx, (2.16)

us-~xsVidx= ~ (curlu(ulv2-u2vO- 89 2 div v) dx. (2.17)

Hence we have for ue V and _re W

~f Oui Ov~ Ou+ )

l V ~ x i - - + u ~ - - v i ~dx
Oxi Oxs J
=~ {v~oO+og(ulv2_u2vl ) -7[u]t 2 div v} dx,

so that the problems (2.1) and (2.12) are equivalent.

Next, let u e V be a solution of (2.13); we consider the continuous linear
functional on H~(f2) 2:

L(v) = ~ {vco curl v +co(u t v2 --UzUI) - 1 lUl 2 div v - f - v } dx


which vanishes if d i v v = 0 . Then, by [34, Prop. l.1, Chap. I], there exists a
unique function peLZo(O) such that

L(v)=~pdivvdx for all v6H~(O) 2.


Therefore p is the unique function of LZ0(f2)such that the pair (u, p) is a solution
of (2.12).
Finally by using (2.13), it is easy to check that the estimate (2.14) holds and
that the condition (2.15) implies the uniqueness of the solution _u of (2.13) and
hence the uniqueness of the solution (u, p) of (2.12). 9
Let us next relax the constraint co=curl u by introducing a Lagrange
multiplier. Thus we define a continuous bilinear form b(-, "): Y x L2(f2)--,N by

b(_v,/,t)= ~ (curl v-O)ladx, _v=(v, 0)eY, /a~LZ(f2), (2.18)

240 V. Girault and P.A.Raviart

and we consider the following problem: Find a triple (u,p, 2)EV LZo(12) Le(f2)
such that

a(u_;~v)+b(v, 2)-(p+ 89 divv)=(f,v) for all v e Y. (2.19)

Again, if (~p, 2)eV 215 is a solution of (2.19), then the pair

(_u,2)E V x L2(12) is necessarily a solution of

a(u;u,v)+b(_v, 2)=(f,v) for all v e X . (2.20)

Furthermore, (2.19) is related to the preceding problems by the following result.

Theorem 2.2. A triple (u_,p, 2)eV LZ(f2) L2(f2) is a solution of (2.19) iff the pair
(u,p) is a solution of (2.12) and 2=va~. Similarly, a pair (u, 2)EV is a
solution of(2.20) iffu is a solution of(2.13) and 2=v~o.
Proof Let us check for instance the second part of the theorem, the proof of the
first part being the same. We notice that:

V = {veX; b(_v,# ) = 0 for all NffL2(~'2)}.

Hence, if (_u,2)eV x L2(O) is a solution of (2.20), then u is a solution of (2.13).
Conversely, by choosing _v=(0,/~) in (2.18), we obtain

[b(_v, ,u)l
sup > II#llo,~.
~x I>tly
Therefore, if __ueV is a solution of (2.13), it follows from [5, Theorem 1.1] that
there exists a unique 2eL2(~) such that (2.20) holds.
It remains only to verify that 2=yea. In fact we have for all veX:

a(_u;__u,_v)+ b(_v,vco)=vI co curl vdx+at(u__; u,v__)


and, by using (2.1), (2.16) and (2.17), we get

8u i Ovi 8ui \
a(u'~ u, v) + b(1), y o ) ) - ~ S "r - - --+ uj - - vi | dx =(f,v)
- - r~ ~?xj ~?xj ~xj ]

so that (2.20) holds with 2=vo). 9

Assume now that the vorticity co=curlu belongs to the space Wl"q(f2) for
some q > 1. Then we can derive from (2.19) or (2.20) a weaker formulation of the
Navier-Stokes equations better suited to the approximation by mixed F.E.M.
Let p be a real number such that 4 < p < oo and let q be its conjugate exponent: q
-- P .
p - 1' we introduce the space

]7"= (Ho(div; ~2)n (LP(f2))2) x L2(~?)~ Y (2.21)

normed by
II_vltt= Ilvllo,p,~+ Ildiv vllo,n+ It0tlo,n.
Mixed Finite Element Method for the Navier-Stokes Equations 241

Clearly, the form a(.; -, .) still remains defined and continuous on Y Y Y.

On the other hand, we consider another continuous bilinear form b(-, "): I?
wLq(s defined by

b(_v,/0 =(v, cu-u~r#)-(0,/~) (2.23)

where c u r i / ~ = ' ~x( "

As above, we introduce the following subspaces of the space !?:

2 ~ {re 17; div v = 0} 2 X (2.24)

normed by

II_vll = llvlfo,p,n+ IlOIIo,r,, (2.25)

l~={wl~; b(_v,/t)=0 for all /~ewl"q(f2)}, (2.26)
12 = 2 ~ # . (2.27)

In fact, we can prove

Lemma 2.1. We have:

17r = W, 17 = V. (2.28)

Proof. It is sufficient to check the first equality. On one hand, using Green's
formula, we have

b(_v, # ) = b ( v , # ) for all _ve Y and all #ewl'q(f2). (2.29)

Hence the inclusion W ~ I7r obviously holds.

On the other hand, let v be in 17r Formula (2.26) with # in @(f2) gives 0
= c u r l wL2(f2) so that v. t is well defined in H-~(F), where t is the unit tangent
along F. Moreover, by choosing veHI(f2) in (2.26) and using Green's formula
(1.4) with v replaced by (v 2, -Vl), we get v . t = 0 . Hence _v=(v, 0)e I,V satisfies:

v~H(div;~?)c~LP(f2) 2, curlv=0~L2(sQ), v = 0 on F.

Now, it is a matter of routine (for instance by extending v by 0 to the whole

plane and using the Fourier transform) to prove that such a function v must
necessarily belong to the space H~(~?) 2, so that y e W . 9
With these spaces, we introduce a new problem: Find a triple (u,p, 2)el?
x LZ0(f2) wl,q(f2) satisfying
a ( u. ; u. , v.) +.b ( v , , ~ ) - ( p + s ~t u l 2,divv)--(f,v) for all v e f ~. (2.30)

If (_u,p, 2)e l? x LZ0(f2) x W l'q(f2) is a solution of (2.30), the pair (u, 2)e l? x W 1,q(f2)
is a solution of
242 V. Girault and P.A. Raviart

a(u;._u,_v)+b(_v, 2)=(f,v) for all re2. (2.31)

The problems (2.19) and (2.30) (resp. (2.20) and (2.31)) are related by:
Theorem 2.3. The set of solutions (u,p, 2) of problem (2.19) (resp. the set of
solutions (u_,2) of problem (2.20)) coincides with the set of solutions of problem
(2.30) (resp. the set of solutions of problem (2.31)) which satisfy 2(=vco)e Wl'q(f2).
Proof Let us check for instance the resp. part of the theorem. By using (2.29)
and the inclusion wI'q(f2)cL2(O), a solution (_u,2) of (2.31) is clearly a solution
of (2.20). Conversely, let (__u,2) be a solution of (2.20) such that 2=vcoe w1"q(o);
then by using again (2.29) and the density of X in 2 we find that (u, 2) is a
solution of(2.31). 9
From now on, we assume that every solution (u, p) of (2.1) satisfies the weak
regularity assumption

c~= curl u~ Wl'q(f2)' q - p -Pl ' 4 < p < + oo,

so that all the formulations given above are equivalent.

We now want to construct a finite element solution of the Navier-Stokes
problem (1.1)-(1.3) using the mixed formulation (2.30) or (2.31). For the sake of
simplicity, it is preferable to start with problem (2.31) and leave the approxima-
tion of the pressure until Sect. 7. Since the domain I2 is assumed to be simply
connected, every divergence-free fu__nction v of LP(f2)2 has a unique stream
function ~oe Wo~'P(O) such that v = curl q~. Hence the space X can also be written
in the form:
2 = {v =(v =cure-] ~0, 0); ~oeWo~'P(f2), O~LZ(f2)}. (2.32)

Next, we introduce three finite-dimensional spaces ~h, Oh and M h which

satisfy the inclusions

el)h= Wd,p(f2), Oh=L:(Q), Mh= Wl'q(f2), (2.33)

and we define the spaces:

X h= {_vh = (_vh= curl ;oh, Oh); q~h~~h, Oh~Oh} C ~, (2.34)

Vh = {l)h~Xh; D(U--h']~h)=0 for all Ilh~.Mh}. (2.35)

Note that Vh is not in general a subspace of 9 = V.

Then we consider the approximate problem: Find u_h =(cur[0h, COh)eVh such
a(U_n;U_h,V_h)=(f,Vh) for all vheVh. (2.36)
Let us introduce the discrete analogues of N and Ifl*:

Nh= sup [ lax (--wh;-uh' Vh)]]

_~,o.,_~.~v~ \ t_uhlIVhl]__whl ,/' (2.37)
l(f, vh)l
Ifl~' = sup - -
Mixed Finite Element Method for the Navier-Stokes Equations 243

By using standard techniques (cf. for instance [34, Proposition 3.1, Chap. II])
one can prove

Theorem 2.4. Assume that I'[ is a norm over the space Vh. Then problem (2.36) has
at least one solution U_heVh. Under the condition

Nh v - 2 If[~'< 1, (2.38)

the solution u h is unique.

In order to study the convergence properties of the discrete solutions _uhe Vh, we
need to evaluate the distance between y and the space Vh in the norm t[" I]. Let us
first recall an approximation result essentially derived in [10]. We reproduce
here the proof for the reader's convenience.

Lemma 2.2. Assume that the inclusion M h C O h holds. Then we have f o r all v
= (curl' q~, 0) e V:

inf tlv-_whtl =< inf I2[I_V--_Vhll+ sup l(curf(~~ (2.39)

Proof Let vh=(curfgoh, Oh) be an arbitrary element of X h and let ~heMh be

defined by

(Vh, ~h)=(O-Oh, ~h) -- (curl' (gO-- rph), curl'~h) for all ~heMh.

Since M h ~ Oh, the element zh=(O, vh) belongs to X h and

I(curl' (~o - %), curl' ~h)l

]_Zhl< lt0-0hllo,s~+ sup (2.40)
~h~Mh lltthllO,~

Now we set W__h=V_h+Z_h; since veV, we have

(curl q~, curl #h) = (0,/~h) V Ph e M h,

so that _whe Vh and

tl_v--_WhJt5 Jt_v-_vhtl + I_zhl.

Using (2.40), the desired inequality (2.39) follows at once. 9
The evaluation of inf I[_v--_Vhlt is a part of the familiar approximation in
Sobolev spaces, whereas the evaluation of

sup I(curl (~o- q~h),curl #h)[, for vheX h (2.41)

is a much more delicate task. We shall estimate this term in the next section for
special choices of the finite dimensional spaces X h and M h.
244 V. Girault and P.A. Raviart

3. The Finite Element Spaces

Let us now construct the finite-dimensional spaces Cbh, O h and M h. For the sake
of simplicity, we assume from now on that O is a convex polygon in order to
avoid all the unessential technical difficulties attached to curved elements.
Let ~h be a triangulation of O made of triangles or convex quadrilaterals K
whose diameters are bounded by h. Given an element K eCgh, we denote by h K
the diameter of K, by PK the maximum diameter of all circles contained in K
and by Oir, 1 =<i < 4, the angles of K if K is a quadrilateral. We suppose that, as
the parameter h tends to zero, the family (C6h) is uniformly regular in the sense
that there exist three constants a > 1 and 0 < z, 7 < 1 independent of h such that

zh<=h~c<=apr for all Ke~h, (3.1)

[cos01Kl<~, 1_<i_<4 for all quadrilaterals K~Cgh. (3.2)

Now, for each integer m>0, we denote by Pro(K) the space of the restrictions
to K of all polynomials of degree < m and by Qm(K) the space

Q,,(K) = {p =/3o F i 1;/3eQm(g)},

where Q,,(K) is the space of the restrictions to the unit s q u a r e / ( = [ 0 , 1] 2 of all

polynomials of the form


and F K is any biaffine transformation which m a p s / ( onto K.

Let l>=l be an integer; we set for all K~Cfh

tPI(K) if K is a triangle,
PK = .QI(K) if K is a quadrilateral.

Then we define the spaces

mh= {#hSC~ #hlr~PK for all Ke%,} c W1,~((2), (3.4)

~h =Mhc~ Wol'P(Y2), Oh =Mh.

Clearly Vh is not contained in V. Nevertheless the elements of Vh satisfy the

following discrete Sobolev's inequality.
Theorem 3.1. Let there be given spaces Mh, q~h and O h defined as in (3.4) and
associated with a uniformly regular family of triangulations. Then, for all r> 1,
there exists a constant C, independent of h such that for all vh =(curl Oh, Oh)eVh:

lq~hh,~,o--< GIIGII0,~. (35)

Proof. Let q~(h) denote the solution of the homogeneous Dirichtet problem

-A~o(h)=O h in f2, (3.6)

~o(h)=O on F.
Mixed Finite Element Method for the Navier-Stokes Equations 245

Since the polygonal domain f2 is convex, ~o(h) belongs to H2(f2)caH~(f2) and

I[(~ (h)I[ 2, f2 ~ c 1 [10h [Io,12,

where here and in all the sequel c~ will denote various constants independent of
h. By virtue of Sobolev's imbedding theorem, this implies that

[Iqg(h)[tt,r,~<c2llOhl]O,, for all r > l .

On the other hand, it follows from (3.6) that
(curi q~(h), curl' ~) = (Oh, #) for all l~en~(f2).
But according to (2.35), ~oh satisfies

(curi q~h, curl Ph) = (Oh, Ph) for all #heMh.

Therefore we get for all Ph, ZhEl~)h
(curl' (% - Zh), curl' #h) = (curl (q~(h)-- Xh), curl' #h)-

[q)h--)~hll,.Q~[@(h)--Zh[t,f~ for all Zh(I) h.

But since the family (qfh) is uniformly regular, the following inverse inequality
holds (cf. for instance [8, Theorem 3.2.6]):
]Zhll,r,~ <C3hmi~(O'E/r-1)[Zh[t, ~ for all Zh~CI)h.

]qIh--Xhll,r,o~C3 hmin(O'2/r- X)I(#(h)- Zhl1,a (3.7)

and therefore
[(phll,r,~< inf {IZhFl,r,t?-~-C3hmin(~

Then the classical results of finite element approximation in Sobolev spaces (cf.
[8, 9]) yield
Iq~al1,,,~ < c4 { II~0(h)ll 1,,,~ + hmi"(l' 2/~ II~o(h)llz,~},

thus proving the theorem. 9

Corollary 3.1. There exists a constant C > 0 independent of h such that for all
V_h~ Vh

tt-Vh[t < C I_Vhl. (3.8)

In other words, the semi-norm ['1 is a norm over Vh which is uniformly
equivalent to the norm t1" II,
246 V. Girault and P.A. Raviart

In addition to Theorem 3.1, the space Vh satisfies the following discrete

compactness property.
Theorem 3.2. Let v=(curiq0, 0) be in J? and, for each h, let _Vh=(CUriq~h, Oh) be an
element of Vh such that

V_h~V_ weakly in X. (3.9)

Then v belongs to the space V and we have

qOh--*rp strongly in Wl'r(f2) for all 1 < r < + oo. (3.10)

Proof. First, we remark that _v~V. Indeed, let iz~Wl'~(f2) and let i~heM h be such
that Ph--*# strongly in wl"q(g2). Then by (3.9), we have

0 = b(_vh, ~h)--, ~(_v, ~),

so that _w 12= V.
Next, let again q~(h) denote the solution of (3.6). Since - A q~= 0, the function
q~-~o(h) is the solution of

-A(q)-q~(h))=O-O h in f2,
~o-q~(h)=O on F.

Since O h i o weakly in L2(O), r weakly in HZ(f2) and by the usual

compactness argument

lim ltq~-q~(h)IIl,r,o=0 for all l < r < o o .


Finally, we write for every Xh~r

1~0--~ohll,r,O < I~O--~o(h)ll,,,o + tq~(h)- zhl1,,,o + [Zh- ~Ohl1,~,w

In view of (3.7), this yields

[r - q~h]l,r,O ~ 1~0--~0(h)[1,r,o
+ inf {]q)(h)-Xh]l,r,O-t-c 3 h min(O'2/r- 1)x [q~(h)--Xh[1,r,a}

which implies (3.10). 9

The remainder of this section is devoted to the study of the approximation
properties of the space Vh. Since Mh-~Oh, we may apply Lemma 2.2 and we
have to estimate the term (2.41). In order to achieve this goal, we shall slightly
refine a nice reasoning due to Scholz [29]. We first introduce the projection
operator/~hSL~a(Wd'~(f2); ~h) defined by

(curf(fp--lShrp), ~url zh)=O V Zh~h. (3.11)

Thus, when q~eH~(f2),/~hq~ satisfies:

1~o-16h~011,~= inf Iq~--~Oh]l,o. (3.12)

Mixed Finite Element Method for the Navier-Stokes Equations 247

By interpreting (3.11) as a finite element approximation of the homogeneous

Dirichlet's problem for - A with piecewise polynomials of degree < l and using
the same techniques as in [30], one can establish the following result.
Lemma 3.1. Let k e n and r ~ be such that O<_k<_l and l<_r<_oo and let
q~sW k+ I'r(Y2)c~W01'r(Q). There exists a constant c>0, independent of h and tp,
such that

[lq3--/~hq~[]o,,,a + h [q~- t~hq[1,~,a< chk+l ]In hip ]lq~Itk+1,r, f2, (3.13)

where fl=O if l> 2 and fl= 1 - ! if l = l .

Let us next state a generalization of [29].
Lemma 3.2. Let kMN and relR be such that 1 <_k<_l and 2<_r< ~ . There exists a
constant C >0, independent of h, such that for all functions
q~ W ~+l,r(O)c~ Wo~,'(~2):

sup I(curf(~o-Ph~O), curf~h)r__

< Chk_~_~;llnhf H~o[tk+1,,,~, (3.14)

where fl = 0 if l>-_2 and fl = 1 --2 if l= 1.

Proof We adapt the proof of [29]. Let #h6Mh and let ~h denote the function of
~bh which coincides with #h at all interior finite element nodes. In particular, if Z h
denotes the union of the boundary elements of C~h,then supp. (#h-~h) = Zh" Thus,
by virtue of (3.11), we have

(curf(qO--Phq~),curf/Ah)= Z f curf(~~ ~
KC'~h K

with 1 + _1= 1. By using an inverse inequality, we get

r s

[iAh_~hll,s,K<=Cl h2/S- 1 IINh--~hllO,~,K"

If, in addition, K is contained in Z h, we have

tll~h--~hliO, oo,r <=C2 N#hl[O,oo,K <=C3h-1 H~httO,K"

Therefore we get for all K c S h

[~h--~hII,s,K <=Cl c3h- Z/r H#nlIO.K.

By using H61der's inequality and the fact that Z h .~s the union of O(h-1)
elements, we obtain
]~h -- ~h[1,s,,~h -~ cab- ~:-r ll~h IIo,:~,,.
248 V. Girault and P.A. Raviart

Thus we have
I(curl (~o - Phq~), cur[ l~h)t< c~l, - ~- T Iq~--/~h (P[ 1,r, .Q Jl]~hII0,12,
and the desired inequality follows from (3.13). 9
Remark 3.1. By interpolation, the estimate (3.13) still remains valid for non
integer k. Therefore L e m m a 3.2 still holds for any k elR with 1 _<k_<l. 9
We are now able to derive the approximation result.

Theorem 3.3. Let k and r e ~ be such that 1 <-k<l and 2 < r < oo. Then there exists
a constant c > 0 , independent of h, such that all functions v=(curf(o, O)eV with
~pe W k + 1"~(f2)r Wo1""(f2) satisfy:

inf IIV--__whlt<c{I~O--/~h~OI~,~,~+ inf ItO--OhIIo,~

~heVh OheOh
k_ l~
+h ~ ~ Ilnhl pllq~tlk+x,,.n}, (3.15)

where fl is defined as in Lemma 3.2.

Moreover, if q~eHl+ ~(f2)r W l+ 1"~~ we get the best error bound:

inf llv-_whll <=chz-~ Iln hlP{[I~oll~+~,~+ II~pllz+x,~,~}, (3.16)


where fl = 0 if l > 2, and [3= 1 if l = 1.

Proof. The inequality (3.15) is a direct consequence of L e m m a 2.2 and L e m m a

3.2 together with Remark 3.1. Next, assume that the function v=(curiq~, O)eV
satisfies q)eH~+~(I2)~ Wt+l'~(f2). Using the inclusion H~+-~(f2)c Wz+~'P(f2) and
L e m m a 3.1 together with Remark 3.1, we get

[q)-- ff~h(l)[1.p,.O~ Cl h t- ~ [In hi" II(Ptlz+~,p,n

~c2h t-~ Iln hi ~ tlq~ll~+_~,~,

where ~ = 0 if 1> 2 and c~= 1 - 2/p if 1= 1.

On the other hand, since 0 = - A q~eH~-~(f2), it follows from standard results
on approximation in Sobolev spaces that

inf IIO--OhIEom<cahl-~ IjOllt_~,a <c3 ht-~ Jl~011l+~,e.


Thus the inequality (3.16) follows from (3.15) used with k = l and r = oo. 9
By a density argument, we deduce from T h e o r e m 3.3:

Corollary 3.2. We have for all ve V

lim inf II_v--_Wh/t=O. (3.17)
h~O wh~Vh
'Mixed Finite Element Method for the Navier-Stokes Equations 249

4. Convergence of the Mixed F.E.M. for the Linear Stokes Problem

Consider the Stokes problem: given a function geE(O) 2, find _u~(curl'~,,co)eV

ao(U,_V)=(g, curl'o) for all t2=(cur~qo, O)eV. (4.1)

We want to study the convergence of the mixed finite element approximation of

problem (4.1) especially for non smooth data geE(g2) 2, l < r < 2 . Since the
polygonal domain f2 is convex, it follows from [19] for instance that the unique
solution u = (curl' 0, o = - A ~,) of problem (4.1) satisfies O e W 3,r (~r'~) ('3 H~ (O) with
1l~t[3,~,n=< C~ llg o , Q , 1 <r<2. (4.2)
Since o = -AqJeWl'r(~), one can prove just as in Theorem 2.3 that for r>q,
the pair (_u,2) with 2= wo is the only element of IPx wl'q(f2) which satisfies

a0(_u, _v)+ ~(v, 2) = (g, cudrl q~) for all v =(curf~o, 0 ) e 2 . (4.3)

The approximate problem associated with (4.1) consists in finding _uh

=(curl'Oh, COh)~Vhsuch that

ao(~h, Vh) =(g, curl q~h) for all vh =(curl qoh, Oh)eVh. (4.4)

By Corollary 3.1, this problem has a unique solution. In order to evaluate the
error _u-u h, we first introduce as in [30] the projection operator
Phe,.~(Wl'r(('2); M~,) defined by

(curf(Php--#),curlzh)=O for all ZhCMh, (4.5)

.[ (PhP--P) dS=O.
Clearly, we have if #~H 1(D)

f#--Ph#ll,r~ = inf ]#--#hll,fl" (4.6)


In addition, by interpreting (4.5) as a finite element approximation of a nonhomo-

geneous Neumann problem and using again [30], we obtain as in Lemma 3.1
with the same hypotheses
I[#-Ph# o,, e+h]#--Phlxtl.,.a <Cha+l [lnht~tlg[Ik+~,~,~, O<k<l. (4.7)

Lemma 4.1. Assume that the solution u of problem (4.1) satisfies o9=
- A ~ e W I " ' ( f 2 ) for r>=q. Then, if uh denotes the solution qf (4.4), we have for
some constant C>O independent of h:
Ilu-_uh [I-< C{ inf 1Lu-_%ll+ I/cO-PhOllo.o}. (4.8)

Proof From (4.3) and (4.4), it follows that

ao(~_h-- ~ h, ~_h-- ~_h)= a o ( ~ - - U_h,~h -- O_h)

+b(uh-_v h, vo)) for all vheVh.
250 V. Girault and P.A. Raviart

Using (4.5) and the fact that _uh-v h belongs to Vh, we may write

b(Uh-- V_h, V09) = -- V(09h -- Oh, ~o-- Ph co).

Therefore, we get for all vheVh

I_un-_vnl < [_.u-_GI + II~o-Phcollo,a,

and by (3.8)

II_uh-vh II <cx {l_u--_Vhl+ t l o - Ph~olIo,o},

so that

tl_u-_Uhtl __<(1+ca)II_u-VhI[ + c x l]o) -- Ph Ogll O, f~,

which implies the inequality (4.8). 9

It suffices now to derive an upper bound for IIo~--Ph~Olto.~ since inf ll__u-_vhll
has been estimated in Sect. 3. ~h~Vh

L e m m a 4.2. Let # e W l ' r ( f 2 ) with 1 < r < 2 ; then we have

tllt-Ph#tlo, a<ch2/Slln h[~ II#l]l,r,a, (4.9)

1 1
where - + - = 1, ~ = 0 if l > 2 and ~ = 1 --2 if l = 1.
r s s
P r o o f We employ a classical duality argument. Given #eWl'r(f2) we consider
the n o n h o m o g e n e o u s N e w m a n n problem

--Az=#--PhI~ in f2,
0Z 1
On meas(F) (l~--Ph#, 1 ) = ~ on F,

with the condition (X, 1 ) = 0 in order to ensure the uniqueness of X- Since 12 is

convex, the solution Z belongs to H2(~2) and

flxllz,~ <ca tll~-eh~t[o,a.

Therefore, we get
2 ) I
I1~- Ph/~ 11o,, = ( - A Z, ~ - Phi) =(curl X, curl (#-- P,#)) - ~ ~ (~ - Ph#) dS.
Then, by (4.5) and H61der's inequality, we obtain
1 1
= inf IX--Xhla,,,,all~--Ph~[1,r, ~, --+--=1.
xhEM h r S

But using a standard approximation result, we have

inf IX-- Zh[1,,,a < c2h2/~ I[xll2,,~ <-_cxczh=/S II/~--Ph~tlo,~.

Mixed Finite Element Method for the Navier-Stokes Equations 251

t l # - PhltHo,o <=cl c2hZ/Sll, t - PhlZll,r,o.

It remains only to apply (4.7) with k = 0 and 1 < r < 2 for obtaining (4.9). 9
We are now able to state
Theorem 4.1. Let g belong to/f((2) 2 with 1 < r < 2 and assume that the solution u__
of(4.1) satisfies co~wl'q(f2). Then, if u h denotes the solution of(4.4), we have for
some constant C > O, independent of h:

iI_U_UhN< C~ h2/~ Ilgllo,r,~ if l > 2 , (4.10)

= ~hl/Sllnh[2/~tlgllo,r, ~ /f I=1,

1 1
where - + - = 1.
r s

Proof We begin by considering the case t>2. By the Sobolev's imbedding

theorem, we have W3'r(f2)cH 2+ 2/~(O). Then if follows from the inequality (3.15)
(used with k = 1 + 2_, r = 2) and Lemma 4.1 that

It_u--_UhlI < c a (l~--/~h~ll,p,~+ inf I~o--Ohl o o + tlco--Phogllo,o

+ h2/~ 110113,,,~}- (4.11)
Since co = - A OeHZ/'~(O), we have

inf 1to9--Ohllo,~ <c2h 2Is 1I~otl2/~,~<c3h2/S IlqJll3,r,o- (4.12)

OhEO h

Next, Lemma 4.2 gives

llm-PhcOlto,o <c4 h2/'~ 11@tl3,,,~- (4.13)

Since W3,'(f2)cW~+2/~,p(f2) and by virtue of Remark 3.1, we may apply the
inequality (3.13) with k =_2, r = p, which gives

l@--13hl]l]l,p,~csh 2/'~ II@ltx+2/~,p,~ <c6 h2/'~ tiVOli3,,,~. (4.14)

Therefore the inequality (4.10) follows from (4.2) and (4.11)-(4.14).

1 1 1
Finally, when l = l , we use the imbedding wa'r(f2)~W2"(f2) with . . . . .
t r 2
and the inequality (3.15) with k = l and r=t, so that the last term in the right-
hand side of (4.11) is replaced by

h 1/~ Iln hi 2/'~ ll~bII3,~,~.

Moreover the inequality (4.13) becomes here

II~--Ph~Oflo,o~cTh 2/" Iln hi 1- 2/.~IT~II3,,,o,

252 V. Girault and P.A. Raviart

and (4.14) becomes:

[~b-/~h OI t,p,~ ----<C8h2/s Iln h[ ~- 2/p IIi/i t1 3 , r , a +

As (4.12) is unchanged, it follows that the dominating factor is h ~/" [In h[2/'s

5. The Linearized Navier-Stokes Problem

In all the sequel, we shall be concerned only with nonsingular solutions of the
Navier-Stokes equations (1.1)-(1.3). Let us first define the continuous form c(.;
,. ): ~'x ~" Y-~ IR associated with the linearized Navier-Stokes operator
c(w; u_,v_)=ao(u_, v_)+ al (w; u_,v_)+ al (u; w, v_). (5.1)
Then a solution _uo e V of (2.13) is said to be nonsingular iff there exists a constant
7 > 0 such that
C(Uo; u, v)>
sup - - ?[[_ul[ for all u~V. (5.2)
~+v fl_vll
This definition amounts to say that the linearized Navier-Stokes problem: +'Find
ue V such that

c(u0;_u,v)=(g,v ) for all _veV" (5.3)

is well posed. Clearly, every nonsingular solution u o is isolated.

In order to study the nonsingular solutions of (2.13), it is convenient to
introduce the following operator K = K u 0 c d ( ) { ; V) defined by
ao(Ku_,v)=a~(U_o;U,v)+al(u_;U_o,V), ue2, v eV. (5.4)

Then, by (5.1) and (5.4), we have for all _ue)( and all v cV

c(__uo;u, _v)=ao((I + K) t~, v). (5.5)

L e m m a 5.1. The operator K is compact fl'om 2 into 2 and from F into V.

Proof. Let _uo =(curl' ~bo, coo = - A ~bo)e V, __u=(curi ~b, ~o)e2 and _w= K_u = (cur---1Z, ~
= - A z ) e V . According to (5.4), _w=K_u is the solution of the Stokes problem

ao(__w,v)=(g, curl'~p) for all _v=(curf~o, O)eV,

aO , aOo
g~= 09o ~-- + 09 -~--, i=1,2.
OX i OX i
1 1 t
Now, since mo, co~L2(O) and ~ o , ~ e W l ' ; ( O ) , g belongsto Lr(Q) 2 with r = ~ + ~
and, using again [-19], this implies the following regularity property for _w:

~(~sW3"V(~"~), IIXll3,r,a<=~cl ]lgl]o,r, I2=~C2 I[--RollII~lt-

Mixed Finite Element Method for the Navier-StokesEquations 253

Hence K is a continuous linear operator from J? into wZ'r(~Q) 2 X wl'r(~'~) and

therefore a compact operator from X into V by the compactness of the
canonical injection from Wl"(f2) into 1:(0). 9
As a corollary, we get
Lemma 5.2. Assume that u_oeV is a nonsingular solution of (2.13). Then the
operator I + K is invertible and has a continuous inverse in ~/~()(;)() or in
~ ( V ; V).
Proof The property follows from (5.2) and Fredholm's alternative. 9
Let us also introduce the continuous form c*(-;-,-): ~-x l:x l:--,lR and the
operator K*=K*u0eL#(J(; V) defined respectively by
c*(_w; __u,v) = c(w; v,_u), _u, v,_we?, (5.6)


ao(K * u_,5) =al (U_o; v, u) + a t (v; __uo, u), _u~X, _vcV. (5.7)

Since for all _u,_v~V

ao(K*u_, v_)= ao(U_, Kv_),

the operator K* is the adjoint operator of K in ~ ( V ; V) with respect to the
scalar product ao(', ").
We shall use later on the following property of the form c*(uo;., -).
Lemma 5.3. Assume that U_oEV is a nonsingular solution of(2.t3), Then, for each
gEL2(O)2, there
exists a unique pair (w=(curl'x, r), ~)eV x HI(O) which satisfies
c* (__uo; _w,_v)+ b(_v, 3) = (g, curl' ~o) for all _v=(curl~q0,0)e J?. (5.8)
Moreover, Z belongs to H3(f2) and

IlxJl3,~+ ll~lll,~ < C(ll_uol[)Ilgl]o,~. (5.9)

Proof Since K is a compact operator of s V) and K* is its adjoint in

L,~ V), it follows from Lemma 5.2 that I + K * is an isomorphism. Hence there
exists a unique element _w=(curl' Z, z)e V such that

c*(u_o;w_,v_)=ao((l+K*)w_,v)=(g, curfq) ) for all w V .

It can be readily verified that )~ is the solution of the 4th-order problem

vA2x+ (co o ~ x l ) - ~ x 1 (o% - A \Oxl ~?xz c~x2 ~ x l ) = c u r l g in f2.

Furthermore, by using the regularity properties of the Stokes problem, one can
easily check that )~eH3(12) and

IIzfl3,n ~ cx(lt--UoII)Ilglto,n.
254 V. Girault and P.A. Raviart

Then, by similar arguments to those used in proving Theorems 2.2 and 2.3, one
can show that the pair (_w, ~), where

3 = - v A;~ 4 - -
8X 1 8 X 2 (~X 2 8 X 1

satisfies the Eq. (5.8). Hence ~ belongs to the space H a(O) and we have

ll~llx,~_-<c2(ll_u0[l) IlXlizm<c3(lLuol[)Ilg[[o,~. 9
Given a nonsingular solution _uoeV of (2.13), we denote by /-/hB0 its best
approximant in Vh defined by

]luo-HhUoll= inf fj_Uo--_VhH. (5.10)


We want to show that the discrete analogue of the inequality (5.2) holds, i.e.

sup e(Flau-~ Ilu_hl] for all uhEVh. (5.11)

To achieve this, we introduce the operator Kh~&~ Vh) defined by

ao(Khu, vh)=al(FlhUo;U, Vh)+a~(u;IlhUo, Vh) for all vh~Vh. (5.12)

Lemma 5.4. We have

lim IIK - K h ll.~,(2;,~)= 0. (5.13)

Proof Let _u=(cur(~O, co)eX; as mentioned in the proof of Lemma 5.1, we may

al(__Uo;U,v)+al(U;Uo, V)=(g, curl'tp) for all w J?,

8~ ~ 111
g~=COo--+co ~/_5(f2), - = - + -
x i r p 2


Ilgllo,,,~_-<cx Luol[ Lull. (5.14)

Similarly, we have

a~(Ilhu_o;U_,v)+al(u;17hU_o,V)=(gh, curlq~) for all v~X,


Ilg-gh[Io,,,,<cl [I._Uo-//h._U0[I[]__U{[. (5.15)

Mixed Finite Element Method for the Navier-Stokes Equations 255

Now, let ze V be the solution of the Stokes problem

ao(_Z,_V)=(gh, curlco) for all _veV.

Clearly KhYEV h is the mixed finite element approximation of the function z.

Hence, as r > q = p----i-' we may apply Theorem 4.1 which gives

tl_z-gh.-utl < e(h) tlghJlO,r,n (5.16)

~c2 hl-2/p if 1>2,
e(h)=[c2h 89 if l = l .

On the other hand, K u - z ~ V satisfies

ao(Ku_-z_,v_)=(g-g h, curl ~0) for all _veV.


Itg_u-_zlt < c a IIg--ghtlo.,.s~- (5.17)

Then, combining the inequalities (5.14)-(5.17), we obtain:

IlKu-Khu__l [<e(h)tlgtl o,r,a + c4 Ilg- ghNo,r.n

< cs(~(h)LUotl + II._uo- r/h_Uo II)II_u11.
The desired result thus follows from Corollary 3.2. 9
Theorem 5.1. Assume that U_,osV is a nonsingular solution of (2.13). Then there
exist two constants ho and ~, > 0 independent of h such that (5.11) holds for h <=ho.
Proof. By Lemmas 5.2 and 5.4, there exists a constant ho>O such that, for h<ho,
the operator (I + Kh)~LP(2; 2) is invertible and

II(I + Kh)- 11[.z~; 3)<c1"

Since C(/7h__Uo ; Uh,Vh)= %((1 + K h)u h, _Vh),we have for all __uhe Vh :

sup c (IlhU_.o; U_h,V_h)..,_a o((I + Kh) U_h,(I + Kh) gh)

v~v. ltV_h[1 ll(I + Kh)~h[t
>__cz I{(l+Kh)_Uhll >_--C?lC: l[_uhlt. 9

6. Convergence of the Mixed F.E.M. for the Navier-Stokes Problem:

Approximation of the Velocity and the Vorticity

Let us go back to the problem (2.36). We want to establish the existence, the
uniqueness and the convergence properties of an approximate solution U_heVh of
(2.36) in a neighborhood of any nonsingular solution _.Uo~V of (2.13). To do this,
256 V. Girault and P.A. Raviart

we propose to adapt a technique introduced in [22] and developed in [6] in the

case of the finite element approximation of Von Karmfin's equations for plates
(cf. also [-25]).
Theorem 6.1. L e t __Uo=(curi (Po, COo)eV be a nonsingular solution o f (2.13) such that
cooeWa'q(12). Then, f o r h small enough, there exists a constant R ( h ) > 0 with

R(h)< C{ Iluo-Hh_uoll + Itcoo-- Phcoollo,~} (6.1)

such that the problem (2.36) has a unique solution U_heVh in the ball o f center Ilhu o
and radius R(h).
P r o o f Let u h be in Vh. By T h e o r e m 5.1, there exists for h < h o a unique u h* eV~,
which satisfies

C(HhYo, ~h, V-h)-- C(Hh~o, Yh, V---h)-- a0(~h, --Vh)-- al (-Uh; Yh, V--h)

+(f, curl'~oh) for all V_heVh. (6.2)

Consider the mapping

T~: -~h~ Vh ~__ug' = T~(_~h)~ Vh.

Then U_h~Vh is a solution of (2.36) iff it is a fixed point of Th.
In order to prove that the operator Th has a fixed point, we first derive an
upper bound for IlU*--//h_Uotl. It follows from (6.2) that we have for all _VheVh

C(HhU 0 ; U_*-- HhUO, V_h)= a I (HhU 0 ; Uh, U_h)-~-al (u_h; Hh~o, Eh)
-- a 1(Uh; Uh, Vh) + (f, curl' q)h)-- ao(Ilh U-o, V-h)-- 2 a l (Hh U-o; Hh U-O,V--h)"

But, since coo is supposed to belong to w1'q(f2), we get from T h e o r e m 2.3 that
the pair (__uo, Vcoo) is a solution of (2.31) so that
C(Hh U_O"~U_~ -- Hh U_.O, Uh) -~- ao(U. 0 -- H h ~-o, l')h) -~- a 1 (U--O-- Hh U-O; -UO'/)h)
+ a 1(IlhU-O ; --Uo-- Hh-UO,V-h)-- a ~(u h -- HhU o ; U_h -- IlhU_o , V_h) + V b (Vh, COo -- PhCOO)"
Using (4.5), we have

b(v-h, ~ o - - PhCOO)= --(Oh, COO--PhCOO)"

Hence the right-hand side of (6.3) may be bounded by

c1{ II-uo-Hh--uoll ( 1 + I[-uolt+ tlHh-uoll)+ ll_uh--Hh_uoll2+ tl%-PhCOollo,~} I[-vht[-

Together with T h e o r e m 5.1, this gives:

tlu._~- Hh u_o It < ez II_Uh--Hh_uo 112+ e(h), (6.4)


~(h) < c3 (..Uo)( II_uo- Hh_uo tl + ItCOo- Ph COoIio,,9.

Mixed Finite Element Method for the Navier-Stokes Equations 257

Now we observe that lim e(h)=0. Then it follows from (6.4) that the operator
Th maps the ball h~o

Bh = {V_hegh; ]t_Vh--HhUo}[<R(h)}

into itself, where

R(h) =2@2(1 - l / 1 - 4 C z e ( h ) ) <=c4 c(h ). (6.5)

Thus, Th has at least one fixed point in B h.

Finally, let us check that this fixed point is unique, at least for sufficiently
small h. Let __uh and Oh be two such fixed points; since _% and Oh are solutions of
(2.36), we may write for all v h e V h

C (IlhU_ 0 ; Oh - - U-h, U-h) = a 1 (Hhu-o -- u-h ; fi-h-- ~-h, ~h)

+ a i (~h -- U--h; IlhU-o -- fi-h, V--h)"

Using again Theorem 5.1, we get since R h, U_h~B h

ItOh-u_hll<c,R(h)I1_0h- uh II.
By (6.5), lira R(h)=0 so that we have c s R ( h ) < l and hence p_h=u, for h small
enough. 9
Corollary 6.1. With the assumptions o f Theorem 6.1, there exists a neighborhood (9
of u__o in 2 such that, for h small enough, (2.36) has a unique solution u he(9 ~ Vh
and we have

lim II__Uo--_Uhl] =0. (6.6)


If, in addition, the function t)o belongs to the space HZ+~(f2)c~ W t+ L~(f2), we get
the error bound

Jl--Uo-_UhII< C(0o) h z- ~ [ln hf, (6.7)

where fl = 0 if l>= 2 and fl = 1 if l = 1.

Proof. The convergence result (6.6) is a direct consequence of Theorem 6.1 and
Corollary 3.2, whereas (6.7) follows from Theorem 6.1, the inequality (3.16) of
Theorem 3.3 and (4.7). 9
In fact, by using a classical duality argument and technique of [29], one can
obtain an improved estimate for lOo-~Jhll,n-
Theorem 6.2. Let ._Uo=(curl'Oo,O o) be a nonsingular solution o f (2.13) with
t)o~H z+ 1(f2) if l > 2 o r ~Joeg3((2) if l= 1. Then the solution U_heVh of (2.36) given
by Theorem 6.1 satisfies the error estimate

I~'0--0hl, <~c(4'o)h' if I>2, (6.8)

'a=~c(~9o) h~-~ if 1=1.
258 V. Girault and P.A. Raviart

P r o o f We may write

I(g, curl' ( ~ ' o - 0h))l

{0o--0hlL~= sup (6.9)
gEL2(~) 2 tlgllo,~
Given geL2(g2) 2, there exists by L e m m a 5.3 a unique pair (_w=(curf)~, z), ~)eV
x Hi(g2) such that (5.8) and (5.9) hold. Hence, we have

(g, curf(Oo-Oh))= C*(__Uo;_W,UO--Uh)+ b(Uo--_Uh, ~). (6.10)

On the other hand, it follows from (2.31) and (2.36) that for all W_h~Vh

ao(U o -- u h, Wh) + a 1(-Uo; -Uo,wh) -- a 1(uh; uh, wh) + v/~(wh, coo) = 0.

Together with (6.10), this yields

(g, curl (~o - Oh)) = ao(-Uo----Uh,_W--_Wh)+a 1(u o ; u o-_uh, _W--_Wh)

+al(U_O--Yh;U_O, W_--Wh)+al(U_O--U_h; R_O--U_h, W h) (6.11)
+ b(U_o --U h, ~)-- vb(w_ h, COo).

Now, using the definitions of the spaces V and Vh, we get

b(-Uo----Uh, r b(-Uo---Uh, ~--Phi)

= (curl (~Oo -- ~kh),curl' (~ -- Ph ~)) -- (COo-- COb, ~ -- Ph ~)"
Moreover, we have by (4.5)

(curl' (0h -/~h 0 o), ~ (~ - Ph ~)) = 0

SO that

b(_uo -_uh, ~)= (curl' (~,o-/~h OO), curl (~--Ph~))--(COO--COh, ~--Ph~)" (6.12)
Similarly, we get for all _wh=(curi )~h,~h) e Vh

- b(_wh, COo)= b(_w-_wh, coo - Ph coo)

= ( c u r i ( z - - P h ) O , curl'(COO--PhCOO))--(Z--Zh, COo--PhCOO). (6.13)
By substituting (6.12) and (6.13) in (, we obtain

(g, curl' (~ o - 0h)) = ao (_u-- Uh, _W--_Wh)+ a 1(-Uo; UO- -/~h, ..W - - __Wh)
+al(_Uo-_Uh; ~O,__W--_Wh)'~-al(_UO--_Uh ; U_O--tl_h,W_h)
+ (curl' (0 o -/~h 0 o), curl' (~ - Ph ~)) - (COo- COh, ~ -- Ph ~)
+ v (curl' (X -/~h Z), curl' (coo -- PhcoO)) -- V(z -- Zh, COO-- PhCOO)"

It remains to estimate the various terms in the right-hand side of the Eq.
(6.14). We choose wh=Hhw so that
Mixed Finite Element Method for the Navier-Stokes Equations 259

I(g, curY(~o- 0h))l ~ c, (11~oII)II_Uo-~hll Itw-/Th WIt

+ % I]-Uo---Uhll2 IlHhwll + ]~ko-/3n~olx,ol~ - Ph~J~,o
+ v ll__w-//h_Wlltlcoo -- Phcoollo,s~-
Now, using the error bounds (3.13) and (4.7) in the standard case r = 2 , together
with the estimate (5.9), we get

I I ~ - P ~ o s~+h ~ - P h r ~.o <c3 h g o ,~,

I Z - PhZll,s~%h~llgllo,o,
where c~=2 if l_>_2 and ~ = 1 if 1= 1. Likewise, from (3.16) and (5.9), we obtain

IIHh~wll5c~ tlgllo,~,
II~w-~h~Wlt~ c6 h# IlgHo,~,
with f l = l if l > 2 and f l = 8 9 if l = l . Hence we have
t(g, cur--l"(O o - Oh))l < c7 {ha(llUo - _uhIt + I[O9o- PhCOo[Io, ~) + IlU-o- U-hII2
+l~bo-Ph~bol~,o+h~l~oo-encoo[~,~} Ilgllo,o.
FinalIy, assume that the function Oo beIongs to the space H~+~(g2) if 1>2 or
to Ha(g2) if l = 1. Then, we deduce from Theorems 3.3 and 6.1 that:

< ( c s h ~-1 ~bolll+t if I > 2 ,

II_uo-uhl[ + IIcoo-Phcoollo,~=~csh~_, if l = l .
Moreover, we have

10o -- Fhl~ol 1,r~ <=c9ffI1~olI,+ x , .


p, ' <(clohZ-;ll~'olll.~ if I>2,


Thus we get

<~'cx 1hi ]lg[[o,o if l > 2 ,

I(g'curl(tP~ if / = 1 , cll = q d r

When substituted in (6.9), this gives the desired bound (6.8). II

Remark 6.1. Obviously, the estimates (6.7) and (6.8 l hold for the linear Stokes
problem with simpler proofs. In fact, if _u=(curlO, co) a n d yh=(curll~h, Cah)
denote the solutions of (4.1) and (4.4) respectively, we have
260 v. Girault and P.A. Raviart


<~chtll~llt+l,x2 if I > 2 ,
I~-~h[~,~= 1-~
[ch Ilt~ 113,r~ if l = l .

N o t e also that the error bound (6.9) is optimal for 1>2 and quasi-optimal for l
=l. 9
We want to conclude this section by considering the case where the con-
dition (2.15) holds. Then the Navier-Stokes problem has a unique solution u o
which is clearly nonsingular.

Theorem 6.3. Assume that the condition (2.15) holds. Then the problem (2.36) has a
unique solution Uhe Vh for sufficiently small h and we have the convergence results

Proof We have only to prove the uniqueness of the solution. Let us briefly
establish that l i m N h = N where N h is defined as in (2.37). Using T h e o r e m 3.1, we
have Nh< Q. Now, let Uh, Vh, _Wh be functions of Vh such that

lal(u_h;V_j,,W_h)l=Nh, I__Uh[=[_Vn[= [~Whl= 1. (6.15)

Then, there exist a subsequence (h,) with lim h , = 0 , N*~IR and Lt*,_v*,_w*e)?
such that

_Uh, ~ _U*,Vh,' ~ _V*,__Wh,~ W* weakly in J~.

F r o m T h e o r e m 3.2, we infer that __u*,v*, w * e V and that

Ohn --+ ~lg~, (flhn ---~ (~*, Xhn --~ Z* strongly in WoI'P(f2).

Therefore, passing to the limit in (6.15), we obtain

la~ (_u*; v*, w*)I = N*, I_u*t___<1, t_v*l=< 1, [__w*[ < t,

so that

la 1(u* ; _v*,_w*)l>
~]-_w-~ =N*, i.e., N*<_N.

On the other hand, the reverse inequality N * > N follows easily from
Corollary 3.2. Hence, this implies N * - N and the convergence of the whole
sequence (Nh) to N.
Similarly, one can prove that lim [fl* =lfL*. Thus, assuming that the con-
dition (2.15) holds, we obtain (2.38) for h small enough so that problem (2.36)
has a unique solution. 9
Mixed Finite Element Method for the Navier-Stokes Equations 261

7. Convergence of the Mixed F.E.M. for the Navier-Stokes Problem:

Approximation of the Pressure

Up to this point, we have eliminated the pressure from all our problems by
working with divergence-free functions. In order to solve for the pressure, we
need to construct a discrete approximation of problem (2.12). Thus, we are given
two finite-dimensional spaces Yh and Qh such that

Yh~Y, Qh~LZ(f2), (7.t)

and we define

W h = {o_h e Yh; b(Eh, #h)= 0 for all lZhGMh}. (7.2)

Then the approximate problem consists in finding a pair (_uh, ph)~ Vh x Qh such

a(U--h;U--h,Vh)--(Ph - { -~1 1 1h2 ,divvh)=(f, Vh) for all VheWh. (7.3)

NOW, assume that

Vh= {-VheWh; (qh, div Vh)=0 for all qh~Qh}. (7.4)

Then, if (u_h, ph)eVh X Qh is a solution of (7.3), u h is clearly a solution of (2.36).

Conversely, we have

Theorem 7.1, Assume that the condition (7.4) holds and that there exists a constant
? > 0 independent of h such that

sup I(qh'diVVh)l>71lqhHo.0 for all qhEQh . (7.5)

_~h~w~ lt-vhll~

Then, with any solution U_heVh of (2.36), we may associate a unique function ph 6Qh
such that the pair (_Uh,Ph) is a solution of (7.3). Moreover, !f (U_o,po)e V x L2 (f2) is a
solution of (2.12) with 2o=VOgoeWX'q(~2), we have for some constant c > 0 ,
independent of h:

Ilpo--Phl]O,O<=C{HUo--U__hH+ inf 1]/~0--]-2h}]l,q,[2-~'- inf ItPo-qnl[o,~}. (7.6)

laheMh qh6Oh

Proof. Let _UhEVh be a solution of (2.36). It follows from the hypotheses (7.4), (7.5)
and a now classical result of [5] that there exists a unique element pheQh such
that (_Uh,Ph) is a solution of (7.3). Now, let us check the estimate (7.6).
Let (Uo,Po) be a solution of (2.12) with 2o = VOgoEWl'q(f2) and let qh be in Qh"
By T h e o r e m 2.3, the triple (_uo, P0, 2o) satisfies (2.30) so that we may write for all
V_he Wh

(qh -- Ph, div Vh)= a(_Uo; _uo, _Vh)-- a(_uh ; _Uh,-G) -- 89([no[ 2 -Inht 2 div Vh)
+ b(V-h,2 o ) - - ( P o - qh, div Vh).
262 V. Girault and P.A. Raviart

Since b(v h,/~h)=0 for all/zh~M h, we get

(qh -- Ph, div Vh)= a o(-Uo---Uh, Vh)+ a 1(-Uo---Uh; -Uo, Vh)

+ a 1(-Uh; -UO----Uh,Vh)-- 89((Uo -- Uh)"UO+ Uh"(Uo -- Uh), div Vh)
+ b(v-h, 2o- I~h)--(Po -- qh, div Vh).
Therefore, we have the estimate

I(qh- Ph, div vh)I < c 1 {(1 + I_Uo[+ ]__Uhl) [t_uo --u hIt(t[VhII-~-IIdiv vhIto, ~)
+ II;~o-~h tt 1,q,~ tl-vhII+ flPo-qhllO,~ ]tdiv YhH0,f2}"
But according to (2.14), the function __uo satisfies

I__uol=<v- l lfl* _-<c2.

Similarly, we have

[_Uh[< V- l lfl~'_< c3. (cf. proof of Theorem 6.3).

Hence, we obtain for all V_h~Wh, all IthEMh and all qhEQh

I(qh--Ph, div Vh)[ <C,{ N._Uo--_UhH+ II).o--kth H1,q,~ q-]{P0-- qhllo,~} It-Vh[l'~,
and the inequality (7.6) follows easily by using the condition (7.5). 9
It remains to construct the finite-dimensional spaces Yh and Qh in such a way
that the hypotheses (7.4) and (7.5) hold together with good approximation
Let us go back to the triangulation cdh. Consider an element K Ecdh and its
corresponding reference element g (unit triangle or unit square) in the reference
(r r lane- Then there exists an invertible mapping F E P I ( / ( ) 2 or F E Q I ( / ( ) 2
(according that K is a triangle or a quadrilateral) which m a p s / ( onto K and we
denote by J the Jacobian determinant of F that we may suppose to be >0. We
establish one-to-one correspondences between the scalar functions ~o defined on
K and q~ defined o n / ( by
q~= q~o F, (7.7)

and, on the other hand, between the vector functions v=(v I, v2) defined on K
and ~ = (vl, v2) defined o n / ( by
1 2 0Fi^
vioF=s E ~ v s . (7.8)

The importance of the contravariant transformation (7.8) arises from the

following invariance properties (see for instance [27], [35]) that hold for all
functions q~L2(tOK), ~heHI(K) and vEHI(K)2:
5 -v" v = j 1 div 0, (7.9)

r ~. q~cc.fidg (7.10)
Mixed Finite Element Method for the Navier-Stokes Equations 263

curl ~9= c u r i ~, (7.11)

where n and fi denote the outward unit normals along OK and ~/( respectively.
We now introduce a finite-dimensional space f t of smooth vector valued
functions defined on the reference e l e m e n t / ( and we set

Y~ = {v~aH0(div; f2)c~L~(~)2; ~ h l ~ I7~ for all K~cg~} (7.12)


Yh= YhI x M h. (7.13)

The construction of the space I7, is inspired by [27]. When Is is the unit triangle,
we define I~1 to be the space of functions ~=(t~, F2) of the form

l- 1 (7.14)
6=p + Z +1,

where p~, pzEPt_ ~ (/(). If ~e I2~ satisfies div ~ ~ 0, we get c~ = 0, 0_< i < l - 1, so that
~ep~_ 1(/~)2 and ~ =curl' q~ with q~eP~(/s
When I~ is the unit square, ~1 is chosen to be the space of functions } such

t~1ePz, t_ 1(/(), ~2 ePl_ 1.1(/~), (7.15)

where P~s(/s is the space of the restrictions t o / ( of all polynomials of the form

0<~1 =<i
0 -<_~2_-<S

Again, it can be easily checked that ~e 1~ satisfies div ~ = 0 iff ~ = ~ q~ for some

Exactly, as in [27, 35], one can prove that a function , e ~ a is uniquely

determined by
(i) the values of 0. fi at l distinct points of each s i d e / ( ' o f / s ;
(ii) the values

i=1,2, in the triangular case,

[ P l e a _ 2,z_ Ate), P2 ffP/_ t,l_ 2(/~), in the quadrilateral case.

Hence, the degrees of freedom of a function vheYh1 may be chosen as:

(i) the values vh-n K, at l distinct points of each interior edge K' of the
triangulation cgh;
(ii) the moments (7.16) for each Ke~gh.
264 V. Girault and P.A. Raviart

Moreover, we have by (7.9)

{Vhe Yhl; div vh = 0} -= {vh = curt' COb;(phe 45h}. (7.17)

Remark 7.1. W h e n K is a triangle, it is straightforward to check that the space of

the restrictions to K of all functions of Yh~ exactly consists in functions v
= ( v t , vz) of the form
(~iX1 X 2 ,
/ ) 2 = P 2 -'~- ~
l - i - l x i +2l ,

where pl,pzePl_l(K). In other words, the space f-1 is invariant under the
transformation (7.8) when F is an affine mapping. 9
It remains to construct the space Qh. We set
Qh= {qhEL20((2); qhlKEQK for all KEtCh}, (7.18)


Q ( P l - l(K) if K is a triangle, (7.19)

K=~Q~_ 1(K) if K is a quadrilateral.

N o t e that a function qhEQh need not be continuous at the interelement bound-

Now, given Vhe Yh1, we define div h vh to be the projection of div v h on Qh, i.e.

(diVh Vh, qh) = (div Vh, qh) for all qhEQh . (7.20)

W h e n the m a p p i n g F = F r is affine, i.e. when K is a triangle or a parallelogram,

it follows from (7.9) that diVhVhlK=div VhlK. However, this is not the case when
the m a p p i n g F K is not affine i.e. when K is a general quadrilateral element.
Nevertheless, the following property is still true:

diVVh=OCc'diVhVh=O, Vh~YhI.
AS a consequence, we have

Xh = {V-he Yh; divh Vh = 0 } ,

so that the condition (7.4) holds.

Let us now check the condition (7.5). We need the following
L e m m a 7.1. There exists an operator Rhe~(Ho(div; f2)c~HI(f2)2; Yh1) such that
for all v~H0(div; f2) c~ H ~(f2) 2
(diV(RhV--V),qh)=O for all qh~Qh, (7.21)

IIdiv (R hv - v)[I0, t~ < c l}div v Ito, 2" (7.22)

Mixed Finite Element M e t h o d for the Navier-Stokes Equations 265

Moreover, we get for r > 2

[]V -- Rh v IIO, r, 12 ~ ch2/r Iv[1,12- (7.23)
Proof We proceed as in [27] for the construction of R h. Given a function
~r 2, we d e f i n e / ~ to be the unique function of fx such that
(l~r162 for all p e P t_ 1(/(') and all side/(' o f / ( , (7.24)


(/~ r - 0) p d~ = 0 for all pc P~_ 2(/()2 i f / ( is the unit triangle

or for all PePl_ 2,~- 1(/() x P~_ 1,1- z(/() i f / ( is the unit square. (7.25)

Then we define the operator Rh by

RhVlK=-R~ for all gec6~h .

Now, using (7.24), (7.25) and the Green's formula, we have for all ~eHl(/() 2
and all 4cPl_ 1(/() or Ql-1(g)

d i v ( / ~ - * ) 4 d ~ = - ~ (R~-C,).grad4d(+ ~ (/~'~-'~)- fiddg=0.

K K (~K

Hence, by (7.9), we get for all veH0(div; f2)c~Hl(f2) e and all qh~Q.h

div(Rhv-v) qhdx=O

which is exactly (7.21).

Moreover, since div/~r is the projection in L2(/() of div~ on Pz-l(/() or
Qt- 1(/(), we have

and (7.22) follows from (7.9) and the above inequality.

It remains to prove the estimate (7.23). Using the mapping (7.8) and the
properties of the triangulation, we get in a standard way

Ilvllo,~.~<cth2/~-t II~lto,~,k for all v~L~(K) 2. (7.26)

Since I - / ~ vanishes on Po(/() 2, we get by the Bramble-Hilbert Lemma [8] and

the Sobolev's imbedding theorem

II~-/~llo,~.k__<c2l~lx.k for all v~H1(K) 2

so that

IIV-- Rh Vtlo,~,K< C3h2/~- 1]~It,~.

266 V. G i r a u l t a n d P.A. R a v i a r t

Now, if F is an affine mapping, we have

I~ll,~<c, hlvlLK. (7.27)
Hence, we obtain in that case

llv - Rnv IIo,,,K <csh2/'lvll,K for all vEHi(K) 2.

Since for r>2, ( ~ [ailr);-<(~ la/12)~, this implies the inequality (7.23).
i i
On the other hand, when K is a general quadrilateral, i.e. when the mapping
F is not affine, the inequality (7.27) is no longer true and we have to use more
subtle arguments in order to derive the inequality (7.23). Given a function
~eH 1(/()2, we use the decomposition
~ = g-~ad 4 + c-~rl ~, (7.28)
where 4 is the solution of the Dirichlet problem
A 4 = div ~ in /s
4 = 0 on O/<,
and ~eH2(/~) is uniquely determined up to an additive constant9 Moreover,
since/( is convex, the function 4 belongs to the space H2(/s and we have

II4112,~ < c6 Jtdiv * tlo, k" (7.29)

A bound for ( I - / ~ ) g r a d 4 is easily established: we have as above

tl(I- R) g--~dad411o,,,g< c2 lgrad 4ll,k <=c21412,~:

and therefore

II(I-R) g~ad41to,r,~<c2c6 IIdiv ~llo,k. (7.30)

Let us next evaluate (I-/~)curl'(~. Since the mapping q ~ ( I - / ~ )
curfq~eLp(H2(/(); H i ( g ) 2) vanishes on Qi(/(), we get by the Bramble-Hilbert
Lemma given in the form of I-8, ex. 3.1.1]
~24 ~

and by (7.28), (7.29)

lt(I-/~)curlq~lto,,,8<c8 ( [idivgllo,R+ I ~t?~2 o, + ~0bl o,g ) " (7.31)

Thus, collecting the inequalities (7.26), (7.30) and (7.31), we obtain

9 ^ 0~2 0~1
Mixed Finite Element Method for the Navier-Stokes Equations 267

On the one hand, using (7.9), we get

Ildiv r g < c l oh Ildiv vlto, K.

On the other hand, since - - - 0 , we have by (7.8)

0Vl _#F2 63
~2 0~2 t~2 ( v l ~ ~ 2 ~ 2 (/22 o F)

and a similar expression for ~-~. Therefore, we find

0vi <Cllhlvtl,K for i~=j.

~ j 0,/~
Combining all these inequalities, we obtain for all w i l l ( K ) z

IIV-- Rh Vllo,,,r < c l z h2/rlVl l,r

and the desired estimate (7.23) follows again for r > 2 . 9

Lemma 7.2. Let there be given spaces Yh and Qh defined as above and associated
with a uniformly regular family of triangulations. Then the condition (7.5) holds.
Proof Let qhEQh; we shall show that there exists a function vhzWh such that

(div v h , qh) = tJqh ~ ~,

Ilvhll~'<cl Ilqhllo,~,

from which the condition (7.5) follows at once. Since div is a surjective mapping
from Hlo(f2)2 onto L2(Q), there exists a function vzHo~(O) 2 such that

div v = qh,
lvl:,~<c2 Ilqhllo,~.
We now choose v h =(Vh, Oh) by

(Oh, ~th)=(V h, CUr~--]'~h) for all ~th~Mh,

SO that Vh~W h. Then, according to (7.2t), we have

(div Vh, qa) =(div v, qh)= []qhll~,~.

Next, it follows from (7.22) that

I[div vh o ~ < c 3 IIdiv Vllo,~ =c3 I[qhtto,~.

268 V. Girault and P.A. Raviart

Furthermore, formula (7.23) with r=p gives

< Ifvllo,p,~+ Ilv--vhllo, p,~<c4lv[1,~<c2c4 [Iqhllo,~.
It remains to find a bound for [10hllO,~. We write

I(0h, ~h)[ [(Vh, curl" #h)l

II0hllo,.= sup - - - sup


(vh, curl' Ph) = (Vh-- V, curt' #h) + (curl v, #h),

we get

II0hl[o,o----Ilvh-vllo,o sup
u.~M. [I/~h[l'~
\]l#hllO,O] + llcurl Vllo,~.

By using the inverse inequality

[#hll,o~c5 h- 1 tll~hHO,~
and (7.23) with r = 2, we obtain

II0hltO,~<c6 llqhllo,o.
Thus we find

II-vn{l~<c7 tlqhllo,o,
which proves the lemma. 9
We may now state our final result.

Theorem 7.2. Let there be given spaces Yh and Qh defined as above and associated
with a uniformly regular family of triangulations and let (U__o,Po) be a nonsingular
solution of (2.12) such that (,OoEWI'q(~r Then, if blhf~:Vh is the solution of (2.36)
given by Theorem 6.1, there exists a unique function ph~Qh such that the pair
(U-h,Ph) is a solution of (7.3), and we have

lim llpo-phtlo,o=O. (7.32)


I f in addition ~o belongs to the space Wl+~'q(g2)n Wt+l'~((2) and Po belongs to

the space Hl-~((2), we get the error bound

Ilpo - PhIto, r~--<c(~'o, Po) ht- ~iln h Ia, (7.33)

where fl = 0 if l > 2 and fl = 1 if l = 1.

Proof The convergence result (7.32) follows from (6.6), Theorem 7.1 and Lemma
7.2. Assume in addition that OoeWl+~'q(f2)~Wl+l'~(f2), poeHZ-~(f2). Then
Mixed Finite Element Method for the Navier-StokesEquations 269

cO0E W t ~' q(f2) and

inf I[CO0--#h]ll.o.a<Cl h1-~ Ilcoollt+~,~,a.


Likewise, we have

inf Ilpo-qhllo,~<=czht-89 Ilpollz_~,~.


Moreover 0oeHg+~(fa)c~Wt+L~(f2) and the estimate (7.33) follows from (6.7),

(7.6) and the above inequalities. 9

8. Numerical Integration and the M.A.C. Difference Scheme

So far, it has been understood that all the integrations in the discrete problems
were performed exactly. However, this is seldom the case in practice because the
exact computation of these integrals is at the best very tedious and at the worst
impossible. Therefore, there is a considerable advantage in replacing the most
troublesome integrals of the discrete problems by suitable quadrature formulas.
There is no space here to dwell on the numerical integration of the discrete
problems developed in the previous sections, but nevertheless, it is worth
mentioning that the well-known M.A.C. difference scheme expressed in terms of
stream function (resp. in terms of velocity and pressure) can be derived by using
first degree elements and integrating properly problem (2.36) (resp. problem
(7.3)) on a rectangular mesh. Indeed, consider for example problem (2.36); it can
be reformulated in the following way: Find (Oh, COh)eg~hX M h such that

S %t~hdx= ~ curl g/h.curltthdX for all #heM,, (8.1)

f2 f2

[&Ph aq)h &Ph Oq~h~dx: ~ f.cur(%dx (8.2)

for all pairs (Oh, Oh)e45hX M h which satisfy:

f O,~hdx=I curf~~ dx, /4eM~. (8.3)

f~ f~

Let us choose first degree elements, i.e. l = 1, in the definition of M h and let us
compute each integral in the above equations by means of the plane trapezoidal
rule on each element. We assume that all the cells of rgh are equal rectangles
parallel to the axes with sides of length h i in the x i direction. Let (i,j) denote an
interior node of ~, such that its eight neighboring nodes lie all inside fL Then, it
is easy to see that the Eqs. (8.1)-(8.3) reduce, with obvious notations, to the
following difference equations at such an interior point

t 1 g/
h 2 (g/i+t,j-2~bij+~bi- 1,j)-~2( i,j+~ - 2 g / i j q - ~ l i , j - 1 ) : ( - ~ (8.4)
270 V. Girault and P.A. Raviart

v{1 1
-- ~l (~Oi+l,j--2~ij+O)i-1,j)+~(fOi,j+l--20)ij+~i,j- l)
-~- 4 h ~ {O)i+ 1, j(~//+ 1 , j + l -- I//i + 1 ,j-- 1 ) - (J)i--1 ,j(~li-- 1 , j + l -- I//i-- i,j-- 1)

--Oki,j+ 1 (I//i + l , j + 1 -- I//i-- 1,j+ 1) -]- (J)i,j--1 (~ti + 1,j-- 1 -- ~li-- 1,j-- 1)}
1 ~r~2~ _r~2~ _ l~tr.(9 _rm ~ (8.5)
- 2 h lwi+l,.i ai-l,~) 2h 2wi,J+x ai,.i-1,.

These are precisely the interior equations of the M.A.C. method. Of course,
these two schemes differ slightly near the boundary but ours is easier to handle
since it is automatically derived from (8.1)-(8.3).
Thus, we have developed a finite element method of arbitrary order for
solving the stationary Navier-Stokes equations that generalizes, in particular,
the M.A.C. difference method to all plane domains and all orders of accuracy.


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Received October 18, 1978