# Membrane

## Membrane#

**Summary :** *Here we shall learn how to solve a Dirichlet and/or mixed Dirichlet Neumann problem for the Laplace operator with
application to the equilibrium of a membrane under load. We shall also check the accuracy of the method and interface with other graphics packages*

An elastic membrane \Omega is attached to a planar rigid support \Gamma, and a force f(x) dx is exerted on each surface element \d{x}=\d{x}_1 \d{x}_2. The vertical membrane displacement, \varphi(x), is obtained by solving Laplace's equation:

As the membrane is fixed to its planar support, one has:

If the support wasn't planar but had an elevation z(x_1,x_2) then the boundary conditions would be of non-homogeneous Dirichlet type.

If a part \Gamma_2 of the membrane border \Gamma is not fixed to the support but is left hanging, then due to the membrane's rigidity the angle with the normal vector n is zero; thus the boundary conditions are

where \Gamma_1=\Gamma-\Gamma_2; recall that \frac{\p\varphi}{\p n}=\n\varphi\cdot n. Let us recall also that the Laplace operator \Delta is defined by:

With such *"mixed boundary conditions"* the problem has a unique solution (**see (1987)**, Dautray-Lions (1988), Strang (1986) and Raviart-Thomas (1983)). The easiest proof is to notice that \varphi is the state of least energy, i.e.

and where V is the subspace of the Sobolev space H^1(\Omega) of functions which have zero trace on \Gamma_1. Recall that (x\in\R^d,~d=2 here)

Calculus of variation shows that the minimum must satisfy, what is known as the weak form of the PDE or its variational formulation (also known here as the theorem of virtual work)

Next an integration by parts (Green's formula) will show that this is equivalent to the PDE when second derivatives exist.

Warning

Unlike Freefem+ which had both weak and strong forms, FreeFem++ implements only weak formulations. It is not possible to go further in using this software if you don't know the weak form (i.e. variational formulation) of your problem: either you read a book, or ask help form a colleague or drop the matter. Now if you want to solve a system of PDE like A(u,v)=0,~ B(u,v)=0 don't close this manual, because in weak form it is

**Example**

Let an ellipse have the length of the semimajor axis a=2, and unitary the semiminor axis. Let the surface force be f=1. Programming this case with FreeFem++ gives:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 | // Parameters real theta = 4.*pi/3.; real a = 2.; //The length of the semimajor axis real b = 1.; //The length of the semiminor axis func z = x; // Mesh border Gamma1(t=0., theta){x=a*cos(t); y=b*sin(t);} border Gamma2(t=theta, 2.*pi){x=a*cos(t); y=b*sin(t);} mesh Th = buildmesh(Gamma1(100) + Gamma2(50)); // Fespace fespace Vh(Th, P2); //P2 conforming triangular FEM Vh phi, w, f=1; // Solve solve Laplace(phi, w) = int2d(Th)( dx(phi)*dx(w) + dy(phi)*dy(w) ) - int2d(Th)( f*w ) + on(Gamma1, phi=z) ; // Plot plot(phi, wait=true, ps="membrane.eps"); //Plot phi plot(Th, wait=true, ps="membraneTh.eps"); //Plot Th // Save mesh savemesh(Th,"Th.msh"); |

A triangulation is built by the keyword `buildmesh`

. This keyword calls a triangulation subroutine based on the Delaunay test, which first triangulates with only the boundary points, then adds internal points by subdividing the edges. How fine the triangulation becomes is controlled by the size of the closest boundary edges.

The PDE is then discretized using the triangular second order finite element method on the triangulation; as was briefly indicated in the previous chapter, a linear system is derived from the discrete formulation whose size is the number of vertices plus the number of mid-edges in the triangulation.

The system is solved by a multi-frontal Gauss LU factorization implemented in the package `UMFPACK`

.

The keyword `plot`

will display both \T_h and \varphi (remove `Th`

if \varphi only is desired) and the qualifier `fill=true`

replaces the default option (colored level lines) by a full color display.

1 | plot(phi,wait=true,fill=true); //Plot phi with full color display |

Results are on figure 1.

Figure 1.1: Mesh of the ellipse. | Figure 1.2: Level lines of the membrane deformation. |
---|---|

Next we would like to check the results !

One simple way is to adjust the parameters so as to know the solutions. For instance on the unit circle `a=1`

, \varphi_e=\sin(x^2+y^2-1) solves the problem when

except that on \Gamma_2 \p_n\varphi=2 instead of zero. So we will consider a non-homogeneous Neumann condition and solve

We will do that with two triangulations, compute the L^2 error:

and print the error in both cases as well as the log of their ratio an indication of the rate of convergence.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 | // Parameters verbosity = 0; //to remove all default output real theta = 4.*pi/3.; real a=1.; //the length of the semimajor axis real b=1.; //the length of the semiminor axis func f = -4*(cos(x^2+y^2-1) - (x^2+y^2)*sin(x^2+y^2-1)); func phiexact = sin(x^2 + y^2 - 1); // Mesh border Gamma1(t=0., theta){x=a*cos(t); y=b*sin(t);} border Gamma2(t=theta, 2.*pi){x=a*cos(t); y=b*sin(t);} // Error loop real[int] L2error(2); //an array of two values for(int n = 0; n < 2; n++){ // Mesh mesh Th = buildmesh(Gamma1(20*(n+1)) + Gamma2(10*(n+1))); // Fespace fespace Vh(Th, P2); Vh phi, w; // Solve solve Laplace(phi, w) = int2d(Th)( dx(phi)*dx(w) + dy(phi)*dy(w) ) - int2d(Th)( f*w ) - int1d(Th, Gamma2)( 2*w ) + on(Gamma1,phi=0) ; // Plot plot(Th, phi, wait=true, ps="membrane.eps"); // Error L2error[n] = sqrt(int2d(Th)((phi-phiexact)^2)); } // Display loop for(int n = 0; n < 2; n++) cout << "L2error " << n << " = " << L2error[n] << endl; // Convergence rate cout << "convergence rate = "<< log(L2error[0]/L2error[1])/log(2.) << endl; |

The output is

1 2 3 4 | L2error 0 = 0.00462991 L2error 1 = 0.00117128 convergence rate = 1.9829 times: compile 0.02s, execution 6.94s |

We find a rate of 1.93591, which is not close enough to the 3 predicted by the theory.

The Geometry is always a polygon so we lose one order due to the geometry approximation in O(h^2).

Now if you are not satisfied with the `.eps`

plot generated by FreeFem++ and you want to use other graphic facilities, then you must store the solution in a file very much like in `C++`

. It will be useless if you don't save the triangulation as well, consequently you must do

1 2 3 4 5 | { ofstream ff("phi.txt"); ff << phi[]; } savemesh(Th,"Th.msh"); |

For the triangulation the name is important: **the extension determines the format**.

Figure 2: The 3D version drawn by `gnuplot`

from a file generated by FreeFem++

Still that may not take you where you want. Here is an interface with gnuplot to produce the figure 2.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 | //to build a gnuplot data file { ofstream ff("graph.txt"); for (int i = 0; i < Th.nt; i++) { for (int j = 0; j < 3; j++) ff << Th[i][j].x << " "<< Th[i][j].y << " " << phi[][Vh(i,j)] << endl; ff << Th[i][0].x << " " << Th[i][0].y << " " << phi[][Vh(i,0)] << "\n\n\n" } } |

We use the finite element numbering, where `Wh(i,j)`

is the global index of j^{Th} degrees of freedom of triangle number i.

Then open `gnuplot`

and do

1 2 | set palette rgbformulae 30,31,32 splot "graph.txt" w l pal |

This works with `P2`

and `P1`

, but not with `P1nc`

because the 3 first degrees of freedom of `P2`

or `P2`

are on vertices and not with `P1nc`

.