Using global invariant manifolds to understand metastability in Burgers equation with small viscosity

PDE Seminar
Tuesday, January 26, 2010 - 3:00pm for 1 hour (actually 50 minutes)
Skiles 255
Margaret Beck – Boston University
Maria Westdickenberg
The large-time behavior of solutions to Burgers equation with small viscosity isdescribed using invariant manifolds. In particular, a geometric explanation is provided for aphenomenon known as metastability, which in the present context means that solutions spend avery long time near the family of solutions known as diffusive N-waves before finallyconverging to a stable self-similar diffusion wave. More precisely, it is shown that in termsof similarity, or scaling, variables in an algebraically weighted L^2 space, theself-similar diffusion waves correspond to a one-dimensional global center manifold ofstationary solutions. Through each of these fixed points there exists a one-dimensional,global, attractive, invariant manifold corresponding to the diffusive N-waves. Thus,metastability corresponds to a fast transient in which solutions approach this ``metastable"manifold of diffusive N-waves, followed by a slow decay along this manifold, and, finally,convergence to the self-similar diffusion wave. This is joint work with C. Eugene Wayne.