Error estimates for a finite element discretization of a phase field model for mixtures

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We derive error estimates for finite element discretizations of phase field models that describe phase transitions in nonisothermal mixtures. Special attention is paid to the applicability of the result for a large class of models with nonlinear constitutive relations and to an approach that avoids an exponential dependence of the constants in the error estimate on the approximation parameter that models the thickness of the diffuse phase transition region. The main assumptions on the model are a convexity condition for a function that can be interpreted as the negative local part of the entropy of the system, a suitable regularity of the exact solutions, and a spectrum estimate for the operator of the Allen-Cahn equation. The spectrum estimate is crucial to avoid the exponential dependence of error constants on the approximation parameters in the model. This is done by a technique introduced in [X. Feng and A. Prohl, Math. Comp., 73 (2004), pp. 541-567] for phase transitions of pure materials with linear constitutive relations. © 2010 Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.

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SIAM Journal on Numerical Analysis