Passing to the limit in a Wasserstein gradient flow : from diffusion to reaction

S. Arnrich, A. Mielke, M.A. Peletier, G. Savaré, M. Veneroni

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34 Citations (Scopus)


We study a singular-limit problem arising in the modelling of chemical reactions. At finite e > 0, the system is described by a Fokker-Planck convection-diffusion equation with a double-well convection potential. This potential is scaled by 1 / e and in the limit e --> 0, the solution concentrates onto the two wells, resulting into a limiting system that is a pair of ordinary differential equations for the density at the two wells. This convergence has been proved in Peletier et al. (SIAM J Math Anal, 42(4):1805–1825, 2010), using the linear structure of the equation. In this study we re-prove the result by using solely the Wasserstein gradient-flow structure of the system. In particular we make no use of the linearity, nor of the fact that it is a second-order system. The first key step in this approach is a reformulation of the equation as the minimization of an action functional that captures the property of being a curve of maximal slope in an integrated form. The second important step is a rescaling of space. Using only the Wasserstein gradient-flow structure, we prove that the sequence of rescaled solutions is pre-compact in an appropriate topology. We then prove a Gamma-convergence result for the functional in this topology, and we identify the limiting functional and the differential equation that it represents. A consequence of these results is that solutions of the e-problem converge to a solution of the limiting problem.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)419-454
JournalCalculus of Variations and Partial Differential Equations
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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