# SoftFEM: revisiting the spectral finite element approximation of elliptic operators

We propose, analyze mathematically, and study numerically a novel approach for the finite element approximation of the spectrum of second-order elliptic operators. The main idea is to reduce the stiffness of the problem by subtracting to the standard stiffness bilinear form a least-squares penalty on the gradient jumps across the mesh interfaces. This penalty bilinear form is similar to the known technique used to stabilize finite element approximations in various contexts, but it brings here a negative contribution. Since it reduces the stiffness of the problem, the resulting approximation technique is called softFEM. The two key advantages of softFEM over the standard Galerkin FEM are to improve the approximation of the eigenvalues in the upper part of the discrete spectrum and to reduce the condition number of the stiffness matrix. We derive a sharp upper bound on the softness parameter weighting the stabilization bilinear form so as to maintain coercivity for the softFEM bilinear form. Then we prove that softFEM delivers the same optimal convergence rates as the standard Galerkin FEM approximation for the eigenvalues and the eigenvectors. We next compare the discrete eigenvalues obtained when using Galerkin FEM and softFEM. Finally, a detailed analysis of linear softFEM for the 1D Laplace eigenvalue problem delivers a sensible choice for the softness parameter. With this choice, the stiffness reduction ratio scales linearly with the polynomial degree. Various numerical experiments illustrate the benefits of using softFEM over Galerkin FEM.

• 19 publications
• 18 publications
research
06/01/2022

### Regular Convergence and Finite Element Methods for Eigenvalue Problems

Regular convergence, together with various other types of convergence, h...
research
08/04/2022

### SoftIGA: soft isogeometric analysis

We extend the softFEM idea to isogeometric analysis (IGA) to reduce the ...
research
06/09/2023

### Fourier analysis of membrane locking and unlocking

Membrane locking in finite element approximations of thin beams and shel...
research
08/09/2019

### Galerkin Approximation In Banach and Hilbert Spaces

In this paper we study the conforming Galerkin approximation of the prob...
research
10/13/2022

### Soft isogeometric analysis of the Bound States of a Quantum Three-Body Problem in 1D

The study of quantum three-body problems has been centered on low-energy...
research
11/02/2020

### LDG approximation of large deformations of prestrained plates

A reduced model for large deformations of prestrained plates consists of...
research
02/15/2021

### Outlier removal for isogeometric spectral approximation with the optimally-blended quadratures

It is well-known that outliers appear in the high-frequency region in th...