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Method of Characteristics for Hyperbolic PDE

  1. Apr 16, 2013 #1
    I am trying to build a program in Matlab to solve the following hyperbolic PDE by the method of characteristics

    ∂n/∂t + G(t)∂n/∂L = 0

    with the inital and boundary conditions

    n(t,0)=B(t)/G(t) and

    Here ns is an intial distribution (bell curve) but I dont have a function to fit it. I just have different values of n at various sizes, L (from 0 to 1000μm).

    I know that the method of characterisitics gives the solution


    which gives the characteristic curve as L-G(t)*t=L0. So the values of n @ any initial size, L0, remain constant along the characteristic curve.

    My problem is how do I incorporate the original n values at time zero and various sizes into the equation. I want to say:


    If the initial condition was given as a function of L0, say n(0,L)= f(L0)=sin(L0), then I could just sub in the characteristic equation and calculate n(t,L) as sin(L-G(t)*t). But I dont have a function that describes the initial condition, just vaues of n at various sizes, L as said above.

    The other problem is the boundary condition, this should make up one section of the solution and the initial condition the other.

    But again how do I actually say n@(t,0)=B(t)/G(t)=n@(L-G(t)*t).

    Say if n(t,0)=g(t), so the boundary condition is a function of time explicitly, not the case for me, B and G are actually a function of concentration which is changing with time, then the solution for the PDE above subject to the boundary would be;


    So I get the method overall, Im just confused how I propagate each value when I dont have functions to describe the initial and boundary conditions, like f(L0) and g(t) shown above.

    I posted about this ages ago but if anyone had some feedback on this it would be great.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 17, 2013 #2
    The characteristic curve is

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