**
What
is the difference between the Finite Difference and Finite Element Approach?**

**The short
answer is that we use step functions for the finite difference solution and
continuous functions for the finite element solution (the simplest being linear
functions). So when you think of the parameters of a FD model you can think
of them as
__
_| |_**

**whereas
you would think of the FE model as **

** **** ****/\**

**In
the end you have the same gross structure of matrix equations and invert the
matrix to solve for the dependent variables
eg
[A] {h} = {R}
as
http://www.mines.edu/~epoeter/583/06/exercise/implicit_exer.htm**

**Here
is a paper by Mattiussi, 1997, from the
Journal of Computational Physics with an in depth discussion**