A biharmonic-modified forward time stepping
method for fourth order nonlinear diffusion equations
Andrea L. Bertozzi - Department of Mathematics, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, 90095, United States (email)
Abstract: We consider a class of splitting schemes for fourth order nonlinear diffusion equations. Standard backward-time differencing requires the solution of a higher order elliptic problem, which can be both computationally expensive and work-intensive to code, in higher space dimensions. Recent papers in the literature provide computational evidence that a biharmonic-modified, forward time-stepping method, can provide good results for these problems. We provide a theoretical explanation of the results. For a basic nonlinear 'thin film' type equation we prove $H^1$ stability of the method given very simple boundedness constraints of the numerical solution. For a more general class of long-wave unstable problems, we prove stability and convergence, using only constraints on the smooth solution. Computational examples include both the model of 'thin film' type problems and a quantitative model for electrowetting in a Hele-Shaw cell (Lu et al J. Fluid Mech. 2007). The methods considered here are related to 'convexity splitting' methods for gradient flows with nonconvex energies.
Keywords: Fourth order equations, convex splitting.
Received: December 2009; Revised: July 2010; Published: December 2010.
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