Spatial and Physical Splittings of Semilinear Parabolic Problems

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (compilation)


Splitting methods are widely used temporal approximation schemes for parabolic partial differential equations (PDEs). These schemes may be very efficient when a problem can be naturally decomposed into multiple parts.

In this thesis, splitting methods are analysed when applied to spatial splittings (partitions of the computational domain) and physical splittings (separations of physical processes) of semilinear parabolic problems. The thesis is organized into three major themes: optimal convergence order analysis, spatial splittings and a physical splitting application.

In view of the first theme, temporal semi-discretizations based on splitting methods are considered. An analysis is performed which yields convergence without order under weak regularity assumptions on the solution, and convergence orders ranging up to classical for progressively more regular solutions. The analysis is performed in the framework of maximal dissipative operators, which includes a large number of parabolic problems. The temporal results are also combined with convergence studies of spatial discretizations to prove simultaneous space–time convergence orders for full discretizations.

For the second theme, two spatial splitting formulations are considered. For dimension splittings each part of the formulation represents the evolution in one spatial dimension only. Thereby, multidimensional problems can be reduced to families of one-dimensional problems. For domain decomposition splittings each part represents a problem on only a smaller subdomain of the full domain of the PDE. The results of the first theme are applied to prove optimal convergence orders for splitting schemes used in conjunction with these two splitting formulations.

The last theme concerns the evaluation of a physical splitting procedure in an interdisciplinary application. A model for axonal growth out of nerve cells is considered. This model features several challenges to be addressed by a successful numerical method. It consists of a linear PDE coupled to nonlinear ordinary differential equations via a moving boundary, which is part of the solution. The biological model parameters imply a wide range of scales, both in time and space. Based on a physical splitting, a tailored scheme for this model is constructed. Its robustness and efficiency are then verified by numerical experiments.


  • Erik Henningsson
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Computational Mathematics
  • Engineering and Technology


  • splitting schemes, parabolic equations, semilinear, evolution equations, dissipative, convergence order, dimension splitting, domain decomposition, axonal growth
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Thesis sponsors
  • Crafoordska stiftelsen
  • Swedish Research Council
Award date2016 Nov 25
Place of PublicationLund
  • Centre for Mathematical Sciences, Lund University
Print ISBNs978-91-7753-000-8
Electronic ISBNs978-91-7753-001-5
StatePublished - 2016 Oct 21

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: 2016-11-25 Time: 13:15 Place: Lecture hall MA:03, Annexet, Sölvegatan 20, Lund University, Faculty of Engineering External reviewer(s) Name: Axel Målqvist Title: Dr. Affiliation: Chalmers University of Technology/University of Gothenburg, Sweden ---