A decoupled scheme with second-order temporal accuracy for magnetohydrodynamic equations

Cheng Wang, Jilu Wang, Zeyu Xia, Liwei Xu

In this paper, we propose and analyze a temporally second-order accurate, fully discrete finite element method for the magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) equations. A modified Crank--Nicolson method is used to discretize the model and appropriate semi-implicit treatments are applied to the fluid convection term and two coupling terms. These semi-implicit approximations result in a linear system with variable coefficients for which the unique solvability can be proved theoretically. In addition, we use a decoupling method in the Stokes solver, which computes the intermediate velocity field based on the gradient of the pressure from the previous time level, and enforces the incompressibility constraint via the Helmholtz decomposition of the intermediate velocity field. This decoupling method greatly simplifies the computation of the whole MHD system. The energy stability of the scheme is theoretically proved, in which the decoupled Stokes solver needs to be analyzed in details. Optimal error estimates are provided for the proposed numerical scheme, with second-order temporal convergence and $\mathcal{O} (h^{r+1})$ spatial convergence, where $r$ is the degree of the polynomial functions. Numerical examples are provided to illustrate the theoretical results.

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