3rd and 11th orders of accuracy of ‘linear’ and ‘quadratic’ elements for Poisson equation with irregular interfaces on Cartesian meshes

Alexander Idesman, Bikash Dey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is as follows: to significantly reduce the computation time (by a factor of 1,000 and more) compared to known numerical techniques for real-world problems with complex interfaces; and to simplify the solution by using trivial unfitted Cartesian meshes (no need in complicated mesh generators for complex geometry). Design/methodology/approach: This study extends the recently developed optimal local truncation error method (OLTEM) for the Poisson equation with constant coefficients to a much more general case of discontinuous coefficients that can be applied to domains with different material properties (e.g. different inclusions, multi-material structural components, etc.). This study develops OLTEM using compact 9-point and 25-point stencils that are similar to those for linear and quadratic finite elements. In contrast to finite elements and other known numerical techniques for interface problems with conformed and unfitted meshes, OLTEM with 9-point and 25-point stencils and unfitted Cartesian meshes provides the 3-rd and 11-th order of accuracy for irregular interfaces, respectively; i.e. a huge increase in accuracy by eight orders for the new 'quadratic' elements compared to known techniques at similar computational costs. There are no unknowns on interfaces between different materials; the structure of the global discrete system is the same for homogeneous and heterogeneous materials (the difference in the values of the stencil coefficients). The calculation of the unknown stencil coefficients is based on the minimization of the local truncation error of the stencil equations and yields the optimal order of accuracy of OLTEM at a given stencil width. The numerical results with irregular interfaces show that at the same number of degrees of freedom, OLTEM with the 9-points stencils is even more accurate than the 4-th order finite elements; OLTEM with the 25-points stencils is much more accurate than the 7-th order finite elements with much wider stencils and conformed meshes. Findings: The significant increase in accuracy for OLTEM by one order for 'linear' elements and by 8 orders for 'quadratic' elements compared to that for known techniques. This will lead to a huge reduction in the computation time for the problems with complex irregular interfaces. The use of trivial unfitted Cartesian meshes significantly simplifies the solution and reduces the time for the data preparation (no need in complicated mesh generators for complex geometry). Originality/value: It has been never seen in the literature such a huge increase in accuracy for the proposed technique compared to existing methods. Due to a high accuracy, the proposed technique will allow the direct solution of multiscale problems without the scale separation.


  • Cartesian meshes
  • Irregular interfaces
  • Local truncation error
  • Optimal accuracy
  • Poisson equation with discontinuous coefficients


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