WIAS Preprint No. 2949, (2022)

Optimal control of a nonconserved phase field model of Caginalp type with thermal memory and double obstacle potential


  • Colli, Pierluigi
    ORCID: 0000-0002-7921-5041
  • Gilardi, Gianni
    ORCID: 0000-0002-0651-4307
  • Signori, Andrea
    ORCID: 0000-0001-7025-977X
  • Sprekels, Jürgen
    ORCID: 0009-0000-0618-8604

2020 Mathematics Subject Classification

  • 35K55 35K51 49J20 49K20 49J50


  • Phase field model, thermal memory, double obstacle potential, optimal control, first-order necessary optimality conditions, adjoint system, deep quench approximation




In this paper, we investigate optimal control problems for a nonlinear state system which constitutes a version of the Caginalp phase field system modeling nonisothermal phase transitions with a nonconserved order parameter that takes thermal memory into account. The state system, which is a first-order approximation of a thermodynamically consistent system, is inspired by the theories developed by Green and Naghdi. It consists of two nonlinearly coupled partial differential equations that govern the phase dynamics and the universal balance law for internal energy, written in terms of the phase variable and the so-called thermal displacement, i.e., a primitive with respect to time of temperature. We extend recent results obtained for optimal control problems in which the free energy governing the phase transition was differentiable (i.e., of regular or logarithmic type) to the nonsmooth case of a double obstacle potential. As is well known, in this nondifferentiable case standard methods to establish the existence of appropriate Lagrange multipliers fail. This difficulty is overcome utilizing of the so-called deep quench approach. Namely, the double obstacle potential is approximated by a family of (differentiable) logarithmic ones for which the existence of optimal controls and first-order necessary conditions of optimality in terms of the adjoint state variables and a variational inequality are known. By proving appropriate bounds for the adjoint states of the approximating systems, we can pass to the limit in the corresponding first-order necessary conditions, thereby establishing meaningful first-order necessary optimality conditions also for the case of the double obstacle potential.

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