Analysis of a stabilised finite element method for power-law fluids

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A low-order finite element method is constructed and analysed for an incompressible non-Newtonian flow problem with power-law rheology. The method is based on a continuous piecewise linear approximation of the velocity field and piecewise constant approximation of the pressure. Stabilisation, in the form of pressure jumps, is added to the formulation to compensate for the failure of the inf-sup condition, and using an appropriate lifting of the pressure jumps a divergence-free approximation to the velocity field is built and included in the discretisation of the convection term. This construction allows us to prove the convergence of the resulting finite element method for the entire range r>2dd+2 of the power-law index r for which weak solutions to the model are known to exist in d space dimensions, d∈ { 2 , 3 }.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-325
Number of pages31
JournalConstructive Approximation
Issue number2
Early online date13 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2023


  • non-Newtonian fluids
  • stabilised fiite element method
  • divergence-free velocity field


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