## Approximation by quadrilateral finite elements

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Douglas N. Arnold, Daniele Boffi and Richard S. Falk
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## Abstract:

We consider the approximation properties of finite element spaces on quadrilateral meshes. The finite element spaces are constructed starting with a given finite dimensional space of functions on a square reference element, which is then transformed to a space of functions on each convex quadrilateral element via a bilinear isomorphism of the square onto the element. It is known that for affine isomorphisms, a necessary and sufficient condition for approximation of order $r+1$ in $L^p$ and order $r$ in $W^1_p$ is that the given space of functions on the reference element contain all polynomial functions of total degree at most $r$. In the case of bilinear isomorphisms, it is known that the same estimates hold if the function space contains all polynomial functions of separate degree $r$. We show, by means of a counterexample, that this latter condition is also necessary. As applications, we demonstrate degradation of the convergence order on quadrilateral meshes as compared to rectangular meshes for serendipity finite elements and for various mixed and nonconforming finite elements.## References

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## Additional Information

**Douglas N. Arnold**- Affiliation: Institute for Mathematics and its Applications, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455
- MR Author ID: 27240
- Email: arnold@ima.umn.edu
**Daniele Boffi**- Affiliation: Dipartimento di Matematica, Università di Pavia, 27100 Pavia, Italy
- MR Author ID: 348743
- Email: boffi@dimat.unipv.it
**Richard S. Falk**- Affiliation: Department of Mathematics, Rutgers University, Piscataway, New Jersey 08854
- Email: falk@math.rutgers.edu
- Received by editor(s): March 10, 2000
- Published electronically: March 22, 2002
- © Copyright 2002 American Mathematical Society
- Journal: Math. Comp.
**71**(2002), 909-922 - MSC (2000): Primary 65N30, 41A10, 41A25, 41A27, 41A63
- DOI: https://doi.org/10.1090/S0025-5718-02-01439-4
- MathSciNet review: 1898739