A Convergent Evolving Finite Element Algorithm for Mean Curvature Flow of Closed Surfaces

Balázs Kovács, Buyang Li, Christian Lubich

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


A proof of convergence is given for semi- and full discretizations of mean curvature flow of closed two-dimensional surfaces. The numerical method proposed and studied here combines evolving finite elements, whose nodes determine the discrete surface like in Dziuk’s method, and linearly implicit backward difference formulae for time integration. The proposed method differs from Dziuk’s approach in that it discretizes Huisken’s evolution equations for the normal vector and mean curvature and uses these evolving geometric quantities in the velocity law projected to the finite element space. This numerical method admits a convergence analysis in the case of finite elements of polynomial degree at least two and backward difference formulae of orders two to five. The error analysis combines stability estimates and consistency estimates to yield optimal-order H1-norm error bounds for the computed surface position, velocity, normal vector and mean curvature. The stability analysis is based on the matrix–vector formulation of the finite element method and does not use geometric arguments. The geometry enters only into the consistency estimates. Numerical experiments illustrate and complement the theoretical results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)797-853
Number of pages57
JournalNumerische Mathematik
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics


Dive into the research topics of 'A Convergent Evolving Finite Element Algorithm for Mean Curvature Flow of Closed Surfaces'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this