A structure-preserving, operator splitting scheme for reaction-diffusion equations with detailed balance

Chun Liu, Cheng Wang, Yiwei Wang

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In this paper, we propose and analyze a positivity-preserving, energy stable numerical scheme for a certain type of reaction-diffusion systems involving the Law of Mass Action with the detailed balance condition. The numerical scheme is constructed based on a recently developed energetic variational formulation, in which the reaction part is reformulated in terms of reaction trajectories. The fact that both the reaction and diffusion parts dissipate the same free energy opens a path of designing an energy stable, operator splitting scheme for these systems. At the reaction stage, we solve equations of reaction trajectories by treating all the logarithmic terms in the reformulated form implicitly due to their convex nature. The positivity-preserving property and unique solvability can be theoretically proved, based on the singular behavior of the logarithmic function around the limiting value. Moreover, the energy stability of this scheme at the reaction stage can be proved by a careful convexity analysis. Similar techniques are used to establish the positivity-preserving property and energy stability for the standard semi-implicit solver at the diffusion stage. As a result, a combination of these two stages leads to a positivity-preserving and energy stable numerical scheme for the original reaction-diffusion system. Several numerical examples are presented to demonstrate the robustness of the proposed operator splitting scheme.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number110253
JournalJournal of Computational Physics
StatePublished - Jul 1 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Numerical Analysis
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics


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