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Error estimates for a time discretization method for the Richards’ equation. (English) Zbl 1079.65542

Summary: We present a numerical analysis of a time discretization method applied to Richards’ equation. Written in its saturation-based form, this nonlinear parabolic equation models water flow into unsaturated porous media. Depending on the soil parameters, the diffusion coefficient may vanish or explode, leading to degeneracy in the original parabolic equation. The numerical approach is based on an implicit Euler time discretization scheme and includes a regularization step, combined with the Kirchhoff transform. Convergence is shown by obtaining error estimates in terms of the time step and of the regularization parameter.

MSC:

65M12 Stability and convergence of numerical methods for initial value and initial-boundary value problems involving PDEs
65M15 Error bounds for initial value and initial-boundary value problems involving PDEs
65M60 Finite element, Rayleigh-Ritz and Galerkin methods for initial value and initial-boundary value problems involving PDEs
76S05 Flows in porous media; filtration; seepage
35K65 Degenerate parabolic equations
35K55 Nonlinear parabolic equations

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