Variational formulation and approximate solutions of the thermal diffusion equation
Abstract
Certain concepts of classical mechanics are utilized to derive the variational formulation for a field partial differential equation. By introducing suitable parameters, it is demonstrated that the concepts of virtual work and generalized coordinates can be extended to the general diffusion equation and this equation can be translated into Lagrange's equations of mechanics. The Lagrangian system of equations is most suitable for deriving approximate solutions and this is demonstrated by assuming a linear series expansion in terms of the generalized coordinates. Furthermore, it is shown that approximate methods, such as the finite element method, can be directly derived as a special application of the generalized approach. Examples of approximate solutions are given for some typical problems involving diffusion of heat.
 Publication:

IN: Numerical methods in heat transfer. Volume 2 (A8422201 0834). Chichester
 Pub Date:
 1983
 Bibcode:
 1983nmht....2...99K
 Keywords:

 Computational Fluid Dynamics;
 Diffusion Theory;
 Finite Element Method;
 Partial Differential Equations;
 Thermal Diffusion;
 Variational Principles;
 Convergence;
 Coordinates;
 Error Analysis;
 Functionals;
 Fluid Mechanics and Heat Transfer