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Title: Analysis of the quasicontinuum method
Author: Ortner, Christoph
ISNI:       0000 0001 2434 819X
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2006
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The aim of this work is to provide a mathematical and numerical analysis of the static quasicontinuum (QC) method. The QC method is, in essence, a finite element method for atomistic material models. By restricting the set of admissible deformations to linear splines with respect to a finite element mesh, the computational complexity of atomistic material models is reduced considerably. We begin with a general review of atomistic material models and the QC method and, most importantly, a thorough discussion of the correct concept of static equilibrium. For example, it is shown that, in contrast to global energy minimization, a ‘dynamic’ selection procedure based on gradient flows models the physically correct behaviour. Next, an atomistic model with long-range Lennard–Jones type interactions is analyzed in one dimension. A rigorous demonstration is given for the existence and stability of elastic as well as fractured steady states, and it is shown that they can be approximated by a QC method if the mesh is sufficiently well adapted to the exact solution; this can be measured by the interpolation error. While the a priori error analysis is an important theoretical step for understanding the approximation properties of the QC method, it is in general unclear how to compute the QC deformation whose existence is guaranteed by the a priori analysis. An a posteriori analysis is therefore performed as well. It is shown that, if a computed QC deformation is stable and has a sufficiently small residual, then there exists a nearby exact solution and the error is estimated. This a posteriori existence idea is also analyzed in an abstract setting. Finally, extensions of the ideas to higher dimensions are investigated in detail.
Supervisor: Süli, Endre Sponsor: Scatcherd European Scholarship
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Numerical analysis ; quasicontinuum method ; atomistic models ; coarse-graining ; error analysis