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December 22, 2005, 12:53 
Finite Element vs. Finite Volume Codes

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Can anybody explain to me the difference between finite element and finite volume CFD codes? Which one is preferable for what type of problems? Thanks.


December 22, 2005, 12:56 
Re: Finite Element vs. Finite Volume Codes

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Most CFD people use the finite volume because of it's stability over the finite element.


December 22, 2005, 20:19 
Re: Finite Element vs. Finite Volume Codes

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I have found that the FEM showcases the underlying physics in a superior way to FVM, which tends to, by its cellaveraging design, damp certain physical phenomena.
The nodal interconnectivity of FEM gives useful internode information. I understand that there is information in the Wiki on the FVM  FEM comparison. diaw... 

December 26, 2005, 20:07 
Re: Finite Element vs. Finite Volume Codes

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on Wiki on the FVM  FEM comparison is still not written, i wished to add but i do not understant much of FEM, so left it for people who excel in FEM.


December 29, 2005, 01:45 
Re: Finite Element vs. Finite Volume Codes

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FEM is normaly apllied to structurall analysis, because the code calculates a length expansion, and out of this it calculates the stress as the first derivation of the length. To be able to do this the FEMCell must have at least a linear weight function, which means there are two points discribing a line (e.g. in 3D 8 nodes per hexaedercell). The fist derivation of it is a constant function. When you have for e.g. a 1D problem, you would get a piecewise (per dxinterval) constant stairways shape of the stress, which is not really accurate. So you better choose a quadratic weight function (means in 1D there are 3 points defining a quadratic funtion), to get a linear stress in the dxintervall. For a first shot many peaple using the linear cells in combination with a higher mesh resolution.
In CFD there is no need to calculate a first derivation of a value. Because of this a constant weight function is sufficient (FVMethode, only 1 node per cell). You can increase the result accuracy by using FEMethods, but is has a great overhead, which let dramatically decrease the speed of the solution progress. To manage at least 8 nodes per cell (linear wight function) instead of only 1 node per cell leads to a extrem memory requirement. Conclusion: In Structural analysis you don't have a choice, you have to use at least a linear cell, because of the first derivation of the length. But in CFD, (especially for large meshes and in transient calculations) FEMMethods are not really practicable, in these days (!). By the way; when using more and smaller cells in general, the needed geometrical accuracy given by the modellwalls (especially in CFD) is much higher. Hope this helps Hubert Janocha 

January 2, 2006, 19:14 
Re: Finite Element vs. Finite Volume Codes

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Thanks for all your replies. Some CFD packages that use FEM approach, present it as part of the natural evolution of things. Now I have a better idea.


January 3, 2006, 09:26 
Re: Finite Element vs. Finite Volume Codes

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For fluids, FEM will provide intricate flow details that FVM would be hardpressed to do. The interconnectivity between nodes is precisely why FEM does such a good job. I think of FVM as a glorified form of FDM  a net of point samplings taken over the flow domain.
diaw... 

January 3, 2006, 13:58 
Finite elemnent and finite volume

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Finite volume codes are easy to write. Writing a finite element code is laborious and it takes much time.


January 6, 2006, 04:19 
Re: Finite elemnent and finite volume

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1)Finite Element basically works on Weighted residual method and Finite Volume works bascially on Conservation priniciples.
2)In FEM nodal connectivity is important to get solution if u r not able to make so it will take as freeedge in solution domain. But in FVM nodal connectivity is not mandatory but face connectivity is must since flux b/t cell face has to conserve. ciyo Alex 

January 6, 2006, 22:59 
Re: Finite elemnent and finite volume

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>>>1)Finite Element basically works on Weighted residual method and Finite Volume works bascially on Conservation priniciples.
 FVM is also a Weighted Residual method... with constant weighting (ref Patankar  p30) diaw... 

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