A functional type a posteriori error estimator for the finite element discretization of the stationary reaction-convection-diffusion equation is derived. In case of dominant convection, the solution for this class of problems typically exhibits boundary layers and shock-front like areas with steep gradients. This renders the accurate numerical solution very demanding and appropriate techniques for the adaptive resolution of regions with large approximation errors are crucial. Functional error estimators as derived here contain no mesh-dependent constants and provide guaranteed error bounds for any conforming approximation. To evaluate the error estimator, a minimization problem is solved which does not require any Galerkin orthogonality or any specific properties of the employed approximation space. Based on a set of numerical examples, we assess the performance of the new estimator. It is observed that it exhibits a good efficiency also with convection-dominated problem settings.
© 2014 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston