Nonlinear Stability for Multidimensional Fourth-Order Shock Fronts Academic Article uri icon


  • We consider the question of stability for planar wave solutions that arise in multidimensional conservation laws with only fourth-order regularization. Such equations arise, for example, in the study of thin films, for which planar waves correspond to fluid coating a pre-wetted surface. An interesting feature of these equations is that both compressive, and undercompressive, planar waves arise as solutions (compressive or undercompressive with respect to asymptotic behavior relative to the un-regularized hyperbolic system), and numerical investigation by Bertozzi, Münch, and Shearer indicates that undercompressive waves can be nonlinearly stable. Proceeding with pointwise estimates on the Green's function for the linear fourth-order convection-regularization equation that arises upon linearization of the conservation law about the planar wave solution, we establish that under general spectral conditions, such as appear to hold for shock fronts arising in our motivating thin films equations, compressive waves are stable for all dimensions d ≧ 2 and undercompressive waves are stable for dimensions d ≧ 3. (In the special case d=1, compressive waves are stable under a very general spectral condition.) We also consider an alternative spectral criterion (valid, for example, in the case of constant-coefficient regularization), for which we can establish nonlinear stability for compressive waves in dimensions d ≥ 3 and undercompressive waves in dimensions d ≧ 5. The case of stability for undercompressive waves in the thin films equations for the critical dimensions d=1 and d=2 remains an interesting open problem.

author list (cited authors)

  • Howard, P., & Hu, C.

citation count

  • 6

publication date

  • January 2006