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Generalized Fourier Analyses of Semi-Discretizations of the Advection-Diffusion Equation

Christon, Mark A.; Voth, Thomas E.; Martinez, Mario J.

This report presents a detailed multi-methods comparison of the spatial errors associated with finite difference, finite element and finite volume semi-discretizations of the scalar advection-diffusion equation. The errors are reported in terms of non-dimensional phase and group speeds, discrete diffusivity, artificial diffusivity, and grid-induced anisotropy. It is demonstrated that Fourier analysis (aka von Neumann analysis) provides an automatic process for separating the spectral behavior of the discrete advective operator into its symmetric dissipative and skew-symmetric advective components. Further it is demonstrated that streamline upwind Petrov-Galerkin and its control-volume finite element analogue, streamline upwind control-volume, produce both an artificial diffusivity and an artificial phase speed in addition to the usual semi-discrete artifacts observed in the discrete phase speed, group speed and diffusivity. For each of the numerical methods considered, asymptotic truncation error and resolution estimates are presented for the limiting cases of pure advection and pure diffusion. The Galerkin finite element method and its streamline upwind derivatives are shown to exhibit super-convergent behavior in terms of phase and group speed when a consistent mass matrix is used in the formulation. In contrast, the CVFEM method and its streamline upwind derivatives yield strictly second-order behavior. While this work can only be considered a first step in a comprehensive multi-methods analysis and comparison, it serves to identify some of the relative strengths and weaknesses of multiple numerical methods in a common mathematical framework.