Stable numerical coupling of exterior and interior problems for the wave equation

Lehel Banjai*, Christian Lubich, Francisco Javier Sayas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)
96 Downloads (Pure)


The acoustic wave equation on the whole three-dimensional space is considered with initial data and inhomogeneity having support in a bounded domain, which need not be convex. We propose and study a numerical method that approximates the solution using computations only in the interior domain and on its boundary. The transmission conditions between the interior and exterior domain are imposed by a time-dependent boundary integral equation coupled to the wave equation in the interior domain. We give a full discretization by finite elements and leapfrog time-stepping in the interior, and by boundary elements and convolution quadrature on the boundary. The direct coupling becomes stable on adding a stabilization term on the boundary. The derivation of stability estimates is based on a strong positivity property of the Calderón boundary operators for the Helmholtz and wave equations and uses energy estimates both in time and frequency domain. The stability estimates together with bounds of the consistency error yield optimal-order error bounds of the full discretization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)611-646
Number of pages36
JournalNumerische Mathematik
Issue number4
Early online date29 Jun 2014
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics


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