Publications / Journal Article

Generalized Fourier analyses of the advection-diffusion equation - Part I: One-dimensional domains

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

This paper 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 speed, discrete diffusivity, artificial diffusivity, and grid-induced anisotropy, it is demonstrated that Fourier analysis provides an automatic process for separating the discrete advective operator into its symmetric and skew-symmetric components and characterizing the spectral behaviour of each operator. 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. It is demonstrated that streamline upwind Petrov-Galerkin and its control-volume finite element analogue, the streamline upwind control-volume method, produce both an artificial diffusivity and a concomitant phase speed adjustment in addition to the usual semi-discrete artifacts observed in the phase speed, group speed and diffusivity. The Galerkin finite element method and its streamline upwind derivatives are shown to exhibit super-convergent behaviour 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 behaviour. In Part II of this paper, we consider two-dimensional semi-discretizations of the advection-diffusion equation and also assess the affects of grid-induced anisotropy observed in the non-dimensional phase speed, and the discrete and artificial diffusivities. Although 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 analysis framework.