# What is Partial differential equations: Definition and 137 Discussions

In mathematics, a partial differential equation (PDE) is an equation which imposes relations between the various partial derivatives of a multivariable function.
The function is often thought of as an "unknown" to be solved for, similarly to how x is thought of as an unknown number, to be solved for, in an algebraic equation like x2 − 3x + 2 = 0. However, it is usually impossible to write down explicit formulas for solutions of partial differential equations. There is, correspondingly, a vast amount of modern mathematical and scientific research on methods to numerically approximate solutions of certain partial differential equations using computers. Partial differential equations also occupy a large sector of pure mathematical research, in which the usual questions are, broadly speaking, on the identification of general qualitative features of solutions of various partial differential equations. Among the many open questions are the existence and smoothness of solutions to the Navier–Stokes equations, named as one of the Millennium Prize Problems in 2000.
Partial differential equations are ubiquitous in mathematically-oriented scientific fields, such as physics and engineering. For instance, they are foundational in the modern scientific understanding of sound, heat, diffusion, electrostatics, electrodynamics, fluid dynamics, elasticity, general relativity, and quantum mechanics. They also arise from many purely mathematical considerations, such as differential geometry and the calculus of variations; among other notable applications, they are the fundamental tool in the proof of the Poincaré conjecture from geometric topology.
Partly due to this variety of sources, there is a wide spectrum of different types of partial differential equations, and methods have been developed for dealing with many of the individual equations which arise. As such, it is usually acknowledged that there is no "general theory" of partial differential equations, with specialist knowledge being somewhat divided between several essentially distinct subfields.Ordinary differential equations form a subclass of partial differential equations, corresponding to functions of a single variable. Stochastic partial differential equations and nonlocal equations are, as of 2020, particularly widely studied extensions of the "PDE" notion. More classical topics, on which there is still much active research, include elliptic and parabolic partial differential equations, fluid mechanics, Boltzmann equations, and dispersive partial differential equations.

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1. ### I Finding the time for the first shock for a quasilinear first order PDE

To find a shock wave, do we always solve the equation ##x_{\xi}=0##? The PDEs I consider are of the form ##u_t + g(u) u_x = f(u)##, with initial condition ##u(x,0) = h(x)##. I have been looking at the solutions for problems in my homework sheet but this method was used with no explanation. Why...
2. ### I Characteristic curves for ##u_t + (1-2u)u_x = -1/4, u(x,0) = f(x)##

I woud like to find the characteristic curves for ##u_t + (1-2u)u_x = -1/4, u(x,0) = f(x)## where ##f(x) = \begin{cases} \frac{1}{4} & x > 0 \\ \frac{3}{4} & x < 0 \end{cases}##. By using the method of chacteristics, I obtain the Charpit-Lagrange system of ODEs: ##dt/ds = 1##, ##dx/ds = 1 -...
3. ### Correct Usage of Partial Derivative Symbols in PDEs

Some may say that ##\frac{ \partial g }{ \partial t }## is correct because it is a term in a partial differential equation, but since ##g## is a one variable function with ##t## only, I think ##\frac{ dg }{ dt }## is correct according to the original usage of the derivative and partial...
4. ### PDE and the separation of variables

using the equation ##u(x,y)=f(x)g(y)##, first, I substitute the value of ##u_{xx}## and ##u_{yy}## in the given PDE. after that solve the ODEs but I can't understand about the ##u_{t}##.In my solution, I put ##u_{t}=0## because u is only the function of x and y. Is it the right approach, to me...
5. ### A How can I interpret the 2D advection equation?

I want to model the advection of debris rock layer with a thickness hd on top of a glacier through ice flow with velocity components u and v. Can anybody explain the physical difference between these 2 equations and which one I should take? Thanks
6. ### Proof involving ##ω(ξ,n)=u(x,y)## - Partial differential equations

I am going through this page again...just out of curiosity, how did they arrive at the given transforms?, ...i think i get it...very confusing... in general, ##U_{xx} = ξ_{xx} =ξ_{x}ξ_{x}= ξ^2_{x}## . Also we may have ##U_{xy} =ξ_{xy} =ξ_{x}ξ_{y}.## the other transforms follow in a similar manner.
7. ### Using separation of variables in solving partial differential equations

I am reading on this part; and i realize that i get confused with the 'lettering' used... i will use my own approach because in that way i am able to work on the pde's at ease and most importantly i understand the concept on separation of variables and therefore would not want to keep on second...
8. ### A Compactness and complexity in electrodynamics

As human beings, we tend to act and observe and think over time periods spanning a few milliseconds to several decades (or even centuries.) Essentially all phenomena that we directly engage with in everyday life are electrodynamical (with quantum electrodynamics over reasonably short time and...

22. ### I Why is separation constant l(l+1) instead of +-l^2?

While separating variables in the Schrodinger Equation for hydrogen atom, why are we taking separation constant to be l(l+1) instead of just l^2 or -l^2, is it just to make the angular equation in the form of Associated Legendre Equation or is there a deeper meaning to it?
23. ### MHB Partial differential equations problem - finding the general solution

4\frac{\partial u}{\partial t}+\frac{\partial u}{\partial x} = 3u , u(x,0)=4e^{-x}-e^{-5x} let U =X(x)T(t) so 4X\frac{\partial T}{\partial t}+T\frac{\partial X}{\partial x} = 3XT 4\frac{\partial T}{T \partial t}+\frac{\partial X}{X \partial x} = 3 \left( 4\frac{\partial T}{T...
24. ### MATLAB Chromatography PDE MOL

Hello all I am using the method of lines to solve the following PDE: ## \frac {\partial C} {\partial t} + F\frac {\partial q} {\partial t} + u \frac {dC} {dz} = D_{ax} \frac{\partial^2 C} {\partial z^2} ## ## \frac {\partial q} {\partial t} = k (q^{*}-q) ## With these initial conditions: ##...
25. ### Calculus Ordinary and partial differential equations

Hi, I'm attempting to learn differential equations on my own. Does anyone recommended a textbook that comes with/has a solution manual? I learn faster when I can see a problem worked out if I can't solve it. Thanks.

48. ### A Obtain parameter derivatives solving PDE

I have a PDE which is the following: $$\frac {\partial n}{\partial t} = -G\cdot\frac {\partial n}{\partial L}$$ with boundary condition: $$n(t,0,p) = \frac {B}{G}$$ , where G is a constant, L is length and t is time. G and B depend on a set of parameters, something like $$B = k_1\cdot C^a$$...
49. ### Understanding the method of Green's function

I'm trying to understand the derivation for methods of Greens functions for PDEs but I can't get my head around some parts. I'm starting to feel comfortable with the method itself but I want to understand why it works. The thing I have problem with is quite crucial and it is the following: I...
50. ### Piecewise initial condition heat equation

Homework Statement I have the solution to the heat equation, with the BC's and everything but the IC applied. So I am just trying to solve for the coefficients, the solution without the coefficients is $$u(x,t) = \sum_{n=1}^{\infty} A_n\sin(nx)e^{-n^2t}$$ If the initial condition is ##u(x,0) =...