*Preprint*

**Inserted:** 28 aug 2024

**Pages:** 49

**Year:** 2024

**Abstract:**

We define the chain Sobolev space on a possibly non-complete metric measure space in terms of chain upper gradients. In this context, ε-chains are a finite collection of points with distance at most ε between consecutive points. They play the role of discrete versions of curves. Chain upper gradients are defined accordingly and the chain Sobolev space is defined by letting the size parameter ε going to zero. In the complete setting, we prove that the chain Sobolev space is equal to the classical notions of Sobolev spaces in terms of relaxation of upper gradients or of the local Lipschitz constant of Lipschitz functions. The proof of this fact is inspired by a recent technique developed by Eriksson-Bique. In the possible non-complete setting, we prove that the chain Sobolev space is equal to the one defined via relaxation of the local Lipschitz constant of Lipschitz functions, while in general they are different from the one defined via upper gradients along curves. We apply the theory developed in the paper to prove equivalent formulations of the Poincaré inequality in terms of pointwise estimates involving ε-upper gradients, lower bounds on modulus of chains connecting points and size of separating sets measured with the Minkowski content in the non-complete setting. Along the way, we discuss the notion of weak ε-upper gradients and asymmetric notions of integral along chains.