Efficient high-order time domain finite element methods in electromagnetics
Thesis (DEng (Electrical and Electronic Engineering))--University of Stellenbosch, 2009.
The Finite Element Method (FEM) as applied to Computational Electromagnetics (CEM), can beused to solve a large class of Electromagnetics problems with high accuracy and good computational efficiency. For solving wide-band problems time domain solutions are often preferred; while time domain FEM methods are feasible, the Finite Difference Time Domain (FDTD) method is more commonly applied. The FDTD is popular both for its efficiency and its simplicity. The efficiency of the FDTD stems from the fact that it is both explicit (i.e. no matrices need to be solved) and second order accurate in both time and space. The FDTD has limitations when dealing with certain geometrical shapes and when electrically large structures are analysed. The former limitation is caused by stair-casing in the geometrical modelling, the latter by accumulated dispersion error throughout the mesh. The FEM can be seen as a general mathematical framework describing families of concrete numerical method implementations; in fact the FDTD can be described as a particular FETD (Finite Element Time Domain) method. To date the most commonly described FETD CEM methods make use of unstructured, conforming meshes and implicit time stepping schemes. Such meshes deal well with complex geometries while implicit time stepping is required for practical numerical stability. Compared to the FDTD, these methods have the advantages of computational efficiency when dealing with complex geometries and the conceptually straight forward extension to higher orders of accuracy. On the downside, they are much more complicated to implement and less computationally efficient when dealing with regular geometries. The FDTD and implicit FETD have been combined in an implicit/explicit hybrid. By using the implicit FETD in regions of complex geometry and the FDTD elsewhere the advantages of both are combined. However, previous work only addressed mixed first order (i.e. second order accurate) methods. For electrically large problems or when very accurate solutions are required, higher order methods are attractive. In this thesis a novel higher order implicit/explicit FETD method of arbitrary order in space is presented. A higher order explicit FETD method is implemented using Gauss-Lobatto lumping on regular Cartesian hexahedra with central differencing in time applied to a coupled Maxwell’s equation FEM formulation. This can be seen as a spatially higher order generalisation of the FDTD. A convolution-free perfectly matched layer (PML) method is adapted from the FDTD literature to provide mesh termination. A curl conforming hybrid mesh allowing the interconnection of arbitrary order tetrahedra and hexahedra without using intermediate pyramidal or prismatic elements is presented. An unconditionally stable implicit FETD method is implemented using Newmark-Beta time integration and the standard curl-curl FEM formulation. The implicit/explicit hybrid is constructed on the hybrid hexahedral/tetrahedral mesh using the equivalence between the coupled Maxwell’s formulation with central differences and the Newmark-Beta method with Beta = 0 and the element-wise implicitness method. The accuracy and efficiency of this hybrid is numerically demonstrated using several test-problems.