```LECTURE 2
INTRODUCTION TO NONLINEAR PARTIAL DIFFERENTIAL
EQUATIONS II. WEAK SOLUTIONS AND UNIQUENESS
UGUR G. ABDULLA
1. Weak Solutions
Let me remind you what I did in a previous lecture. I considered the problem
ut − div uσ ∇u = 0, x ∈ RN , t > 0; σ > 0,
Z
RN
u(x, t) dx = 1, t > 0
(1)
(2)
u(x, 0) = δ(x)
(3)
and constructed instantaneous point-source solution, also called the Zeldovich-KompaneetsBarenblatt (ZKB) solution.
! #1
"
σ
σ
|x|2
u∗ (x, t) = t
η02 − 2
(4)
2(2 + N σ)
t 2+N σ +
Note that the nonlinear diffusion equation is invariant under translation of time and space
coordinate, and the solution to the problem
N
− 2+N
σ

u
σ
t = div u u ,
u(x, 0) = u (x, T ),
∗
(x, t) ∈ RN × R+
x ∈ RN
is exactly u∗ (x, t + T ), which has compact support for all t ≥ 0.
However, several important questions are left open. First of all, ZKB solution is not a
classical solution: it is not even differentiable on the boundary of the support. First important
question which we need to answer is the following: In what sense is u∗ actually a solution of
the problem? Hence, we need to define the notion of the weak solution. Second important
question we need to answer is the following: May be there is a smooth solution of the same
problem with different properties, and ZKB solution is just physically irrelevant mathematical
example. Main goal of this lecture is to answer these important questions.
For clarity, I will concentrate on the one particular problem - Dirichlet problem for the
nonlinear diffusion equation. I am going to formulate the notion of the weak solution and
prove its uniqueness. Let me note that the pioneering work on the mathematical theory of
the nonlinear diffusion type equations is . For complete review and modern treatment I
refer to .
Consider the Dirichlet problem for the nonlinear diffusion equation:
ut = ∆ um ,
u(x, 0) = u0 (x),
u(x, t) = 0,
in QT = Ω × (0, T ]
(5)
in Ω
(6)
on ST = ∂Ω × (0, T ]
1
(7)
2
UGUR G. ABDULLA
where m > 1, Ω ⊂ RN , with N ≥ 1, is a bounded domain with boundary ∂Ω ∈ C 2+α ,
α ∈ (0, 1), u0 (x) ≥ 0;
Assuming temporarily that u is a smooth solution, multiply (5) by a smooth test function
(whose properties are to be determined) and integrate over QT to find
0=
ZZ
QT
(ut − ∆ um ) φ dx dt
Integrating by parts with respect to x, t, it follows that
0=
ZZ
m
QT
t=T
u(x, T )φ(x, T ) dx−
Ω
m
∂u
φ dx dt
Ω
ST ∂ν
an exterior normal at the boundary point x ∈ ∂Ω. To simplify further, choose
= 0 to derive
−
where
ν is
φ
= φ
[∇u · ∇φ − uφt ] dx dt +
Z
Z
u0 (x)φ(x, 0) dx −
Z
ST
ZZ
QT
(∇um · ∇φ − uφt ) dx dt =
Z
Ω
u0 (x)φ(x, 0) dx
(8)
¯ T ) with φ(x, T ) = 0, φ = 0.
which holds for all φ ∈ C 1 (Q
ST
The integral identity clearly holds for any smooth or classical solution of (5)-(7). However,
opposite is not necessarily true, and in particular ZKB solution satisfies the integral identity
(8), but not the equation (5). Hence, in order to give sense to ZKB type solutions, it makes
sense to weaken the smoothness requirements on the solution by replacing PDE (5) with the
integral identity (8). To exploit this idea, let us formulate minimal requirements on u which
are enough to hold (8). Hence, integral identity will dictate the relevant Sobolev space for
solutions. First of all, we are going to understand integration in the Lebesgue’s sense, and all
the derivatives are understood in a weak sense.
For the integral identity to make sense, we will need um in the Sobolev space
L2 0, T : H01 (Ω) .
Let’s unpack this notation a bit. Recall that L2 (Ω) is a Banach space of Lebesgue measurable
functions u with finite norm
kukL2 (Ω) =
Z
2
|u| dx
1/2
Ω
It is an Hilbert space with inner product
(u, v) =
Z
uvdx
Ω
and
H 1 (Ω) = {u : Ω → R, u, ∇u ∈ L2 (Ω)}
is a Banach space with norm
kukH 1 (Ω) =
H01 (Ω)
Z
|u|2 + k∇uk2
1/2
Ω
Then
is the linear subspace of elements of H 1 (Ω) which are “zero” on the boundary of
Ω. To be more rigorous, H01 (Ω) is the closure of C0∞ (Ω) with respect to the H 1 (Ω) norm.
NONLINEAR DIFFUSION EQUATION
3
Now, we can define the Sobolev space L2 0, T : H01 (Ω) comprising functions mapping
time into Bnach spaces:
n
o
L2 0, T : H01 (Ω) = u = u(t) : [0, T ] → H01 (Ω)
that is, points in this space are maps from the interval [0, T ] to the Banach space H01 (Ω).
This space has a norm
kuk L2 0,T :H01 (Ω)
=
Z T
0
!1/2
ku(·, t)k2H 1 (Ω)
=
dt
!1/2
Z TZ
0
2
2
|u| + k∇uk dx dt
Ω
Finally note that for the right-hand side of (8) to make sense, it is enough to assume
u0 ∈ L1 (Ω), space of Lebesgue integrable functions with the norm
kukL1 (Ω) =
Z
|u|dx
Ω
We can now formulate the notion of the weak solution of the problem (5)–(7):
Definition 1. We say that a function u = u(x, t) is a weak solution of the Dirichlet problem
for the Nonlinear Diffusion Equation, (5)–(7) if
(1) u ≥ 0
(2) um ∈ L2 (0, T ; H01 (Ω)),
(3) u satisfies the integral identity
ZZ
m
QT
(∇u · ∇φ − uφt ) dx dt =
for any φ ∈ C 1 (QT ) satisfying φ(x, T ) = φ
ST
Z
Ω
u0 (x)φ(x, 0) dx
= 0.
This definition gives sense to ZKB solution, and one can check that u∗ is a weak solution
of the relevant Dirichlet problem (recall that ∇um
∗ is a continuous function). How to make
sure that the ZKB solution is the physically relevant solution, and in particular, there is no
smooth classical solution of the nonlinear diffusion equation for the same data? To justify
this we need to prove the uniqueness of the weak solution.
2. Uniqueness
Consider two solutions u1 , u2 in the sense of Definition 1. Their difference satisfies the
integral identity
ZZ
QT
m
[∇ (um
1 − u2 ) · ∇φ − (u1 − u2 ) φt ] dx dt = 0,
¯ T ) s.t. φ(x, T ) = φ
∀φ ∈ C 1 (Q
ST
=0
(9)
1
¯
Due to the density of the space of smooth functions C (QT in a Sobolev space H (QT ), this
integral identity holds for all φ ∈ H 1 (QT ) with φ(x, T ) = φST = 0. Set
1
η(x, t) =
R
 T
t
0,
m
um
1 (x, s) − u2 (x, s) ds,
0<t<T
t≥T
4
UGUR G. ABDULLA
We calculate
m
ηt = − (um
1 − u2 ) ∈ L2 (QT ),
∇η =
Z T
t
m
(∇um
1 − ∇u2 ) ds ∈ L2 (QT )
so η is an appropriate test function. Substituting it to (9) gives
0=
"
ZZ
QT
∇ (um
1
−
um
2 )
·
Z T
t
#
(∇um
1
−
∇um
2 )
ds + (u1 −
=
QT
−
um
2 )
dx dt


ZZ
u2 ) (um
1
!2
1d ZT
m 
m
m
−
(∇u1 − ∇u2 ) ds + (u1 − u2 ) (um
1 − u2 ) dx dt
2 dt t
!2
ZZ
1Z Z T
m
m
m
=
(∇u1 − ∇u2 ) ds dx +
(u1 − u2 ) (um
1 − u2 ) dx dt
2 Ω 0
QT
Note that both terms on the right-hand side are nonnegative, and accordingly both must be
equal to zero. Hence, integrands must be equal to zero almost everywhere (a.e.). It follows
that u1 = u2 a.e. in QT . Thus we proved the following result:
Theorem 1. There exists at most one solution of the Dirichlet problem if u0 ∈ L1 (Ω).
In particular, it follows
Corollary 2. There is no classical solution for ZKB datum i.e. initial data of the form
u∗ (x, t0 ) for fixed t0 .
References
 O.A.Oleinik, A.S.Kalashnikov, Yui-Lin Czou, The Cauchy problem and boundary problems for equations
of the type of non-stationary filtration (Russian), Izv. Akad. Nauk SSSR. Ser. Mat. 22 (1958), 667–704.
 J.L.Vazquez, The Porous Medium Equation. Mathematical Theory., Oxford Mathematical Monographs.
The Clarendon Press, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2007. xxii+624 pp.