A mortar finite element method using dual spaces for the Lagrange multiplier

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The mortar finite element method allows the coupling of different discretization schemes and triangulations across subregion boundaries. In the original mortar approach the matching at the interface is realized by enforcing an orthogonality relation between the jump and a modified trace space which serves as a space of Lagrange multipliers. In this paper, this Lagrange multiplier space is replaced by a dual space without losing the optimality of the method. The advantage of this new approach is that the matching condition is much easier to realize. In particular, all the basis functions of the new method are supported in a few elements. The mortar map can be represented by a diagonal matrix; in the standard mortar method a linear system of equations must be solved. The problem is considered in a positive definite nonconforming variational as well as an equivalent saddle-point formulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)989-1012
Number of pages24
JournalSIAM Journal on Numerical Analysis
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • A priori estimates
  • Dual norms
  • Lagrange multiplier
  • Mortar finite elements
  • Nonmatching triangulations


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