Spurious reflection of elastic waves due to gradually changing finite element size

Zekai Celep*, Zdeněk P. Bažant

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


When a homogeneous elastic continuum is modelled by a non‐uniform finite element grid, the differences in the size of adjacent finite elements can cause a spurious wave reflection which does not exist in the continuum. Extending previous studies in which the spurious wave reflection was investigated for the case of two uniform grids with a sudden element size change from one grid to the other, the present study deals with the case when the two uniform grids of different element sizes are separated by a transition zone through which the element size varies gradually, either by a geometric progression or by an arithmetic progression. The solution is carried out in complex variables and numerical plots of the results are given. When the ratio of wavelength to the largest element size is as low as 4 : 1, the spurious wave reflection is very significant, while for the ratios over 10 : 1 it is insignificant. Inserting a transition zone with gradually varying element size between the two uniform parts of the grid somewhat mitigates the phenomenon of spurious reflection, but this is significant only when the ratio of element sizes in the uniform grids is small (less than about 1·5 : 1). Varying the element size throughout the transition zone in an arithmetic progression seems slightly better than in a geometric progression. The spurious wave reflection is less pronounced for higher‐order elements, in particular for linear strain elements as compared to constant strain elements. The spurious reflection is also less severe for consistent mass than for lumped mass.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)631-646
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal for Numerical Methods in Engineering
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1983

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Numerical Analysis
  • Engineering(all)
  • Applied Mathematics


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