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Fortin operator and discrete compactness for edge elements


The basic properties of the edge elements are proven in the original papers by Nédélec [22,23] In the two-dimensional case the edge elements are isomorphic to the face elements (the well-known Raviart–Thomas elements [24]), so that all known results concerning face elements can be easily formulated for edge elements. In three-dimensional domains this is not the case. The aim of the present paper is to show how to construct a Fortin operator which converges uniformly to the identity in the spirit of [5,4]. The construction is given for any order tetrahedral edge elements in general geometries. We relate this result to the well-known commuting diagram property and apply it to improve the error estimate for a mixed problem which involves edge elements. Finally we show that this result can be applied to the analysis of the approximation of the time-harmonic Maxwell's system.

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Received March 22, 1999 / Revised version received September 23, 1999 / Published online July 12, 2000

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Boffi, D. Fortin operator and discrete compactness for edge elements. Numer. Math. 87, 229–246 (2000).

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  • Mathematics Subject Classification (1991): 65N30, 65N25