Resolution of a shock in hyperbolic systems modified by weak dispersion

G. A. El*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Citations (Scopus)
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We present a way to deal with dispersion-dominated "shock-type" transition in the absence of completely integrable structure for the systems that one may characterize as strictly hyperbolic regularized by a small amount of dispersion. The analysis is performed by assuming that the dispersive shock transition between two different constant states can be modeled by an expansion fan solution of the associated modulation (Whitham) system for the short-wavelength nonlinear oscillations in the transition region (the so-called Gurevich-Pitaevskii problem). We consider both single-wave and bidirectional systems. The main mathematical assumption is that of hyperbolicity of the Whitham system for the solutions of our interest. By using general properties of the Whitham averaging for a certain class of nonlinear dispersive systems and specific features of the Cauchy data prescription on characteristics we derive a set of transition conditions for the dispersive shock, actually bypassing full integration of the modulation equations. Along with the Korteweg-de Vries (KdV) and modified KdV (mKdV) equations as model examples, we consider a nonintegrable system describing fully nonlinear ion-acoustic waves in collisionless plasma. In all cases our transition conditions are in complete agreement with previous analytical and numerical results.

Original languageEnglish
Article number037103
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2005
Externally publishedYes


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