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Non-Linear Dispersive Waves with a Small Dissipation


Wiscombe, Warren Jackman (1970) Non-Linear Dispersive Waves with a Small Dissipation. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/4QJW-9809.


The general theory of Whitham for slowly-varying non-linear wavetrains is extended to the case where some of the defining partial differential equations cannot be put into conservation form. Typical examples are considered in plasma dynamics and water waves in which the lack of a conservation form is due to dissipation; an additional non-conservative element, the presence of an external force, is treated for the plasma dynamics example. Certain numerical solutions of the water waves problem (the Korteweg-de Vries equation with dissipation) are considered and compared with perturbation expansions about the linearized solution; it is found that the first correction term in the perturbation expansion is an excellent qualitative indicator of the deviation of the dissipative decay rate from linearity.

A method for deriving necessary and sufficient conditions for the existence of a general uniform wavetrain solution is presented and illustrated in the plasma dynamics problem. Peaking of the plasma wave is demonstrated, and it is shown that the necessary and sufficient existence conditions are essentially equivalent to the statement that no wave may have an amplitude larger than the peaked wave.

A new type of fully non-linear stability criterion is developed for the plasma uniform wavetrain. It is shown explicitly that this wavetrain is stable in the near-linear limit. The nature of this new type of stability is discussed.

Steady shock solutions are also considered. By a quite general method, it is demonstrated that the plasma equations studied here have no steady shock solutions whatsoever. A special type of steady shock is proposed, in which a uniform wavetrain joins across a jump discontinuity to a constant state. Such shocks may indeed exist for the Korteweg-de Vries equation, but are barred from the plasma problem because entropy would decrease across the shock front.

Finally, a way of including the Landau damping mechanism in the plasma equations is given. It involves putting in a dissipation term of convolution integral form, and parallels a similar approach of Whitham in water wave theory. An important application of this would be towards resolving long-standing difficulties about the "collisionless" shock.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:(Applied Mathematics)
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Applied Mathematics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Whitham, Gerald Beresford
Thesis Committee:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:21 April 1970
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:04042013-095120206
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:7579
Deposited By: Benjamin Perez
Deposited On:04 Apr 2013 17:52
Last Modified:22 May 2024 21:30

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