Construction of Scalar and Vector Finite Element Families on Polygonal and Polyhedral Meshes

Andrew Gillette, Alexander Rand, Chandrajit Bajaj

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


We combine theoretical results from polytope domain meshing, generalized barycentric coordinates, and finite element exterior calculus to construct scalar- and vector-valued basis functions for conforming finite element methods on generic convex polytope meshes in dimensions 2 and 3. Our construction recovers well-known bases for the lowest order Nédélec, Raviart-Thomas, and Brezzi-Douglas-Marini elements on simplicial meshes and generalizes the notion of Whitney forms to non-simplicial convex polygons and polyhedra. We show that our basis functions lie in the correct function space with regards to global continuity and that they reproduce the requisite polynomial differential forms described by finite element exterior calculus. We present a method to count the number of basis functions required to ensure these two key properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)667-683
Number of pages17
JournalComputational Methods in Applied Mathematics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016


  • Finite Element Exterior Calculus
  • Generalized Barycentric Coordinates
  • Polygonal Finite Element Methods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Numerical Analysis
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics


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