Abstract:The boundary integral equation approach has been shown to suffer a nonunique solution when the geometry is equal to a degenerate scale for a potential problem. In this paper, the degenerate scale problem in boundary element method for the two-dimensional Laplace equation is analytically studied in the continuous system by using degenerate kernels and Fourier series instead of using discrete system using circulants [Engng Anal. Bound. Elem. 25 (2001) 819]. For circular and multiply-connected domain problems, the rank-deficiency problem of the degenerate scale is solved by using the combined Helmholtz exterior integral equation formulation (CHEEF) concept. An additional constraint by collocating a point outside the domain is added to promote the rank of influence matrix. Two examples are shown to demonstrate the numerical instability using the singular integral equation for circular and annular domain problems. The CHEEF concept is successfully applied to overcome the degenerate scale and the error is suppressed in the numerical experiment. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.