WIAS Preprint No. 2997, (2023)

Optimal temperature distribution for a nonisothermal Cahn--Hilliard system with source term


  • 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


  • Optimal control, nonisothermal Cahn--Hilliard equation, thermal memory, Cahn--Hilliard equation with source term, Cahn--Hilliard--Oono equation




In this note, we study the optimal control of a nonisothermal phase field system of Cahn--Hilliard type that constitutes an extension of the classical Caginalp model for nonisothermal phase transitions with a conserved order parameter. The system couples a Cahn--Hilliard type equation with source term for the order parameter with the universal balance law of internal energy. In place of the standard Fourier form, the constitutive law of the heat flux is assumed in the form given by the theory developed by Green and Naghdi, which accounts for a possible thermal memory of the evolution. This has the consequence that the balance law of internal energy becomes a second-order in time equation for the thermal displacement or freezing index, that is, a primitive with respect to time of the temperature. Another particular feature of our system is the presence of the source term in the equation for the order parameter, which entails additional mathematical difficulties because the mass conservation of the order parameter, typical of the classic Cahn--Hilliard equation, is no longer satisfied. In this paper, we analyze the case that the double-well potential driving the evolution of the phase transition is differentiable, either (in the regular case) on the whole set of reals or (in the singular logarithmic case) on a finite open interval; nondifferentiable cases like the double obstacle potential are excluded from the analysis. We prove the Fréchet differentiability of the control-to-state operator between suitable Banach spaces for both the regular and the logarithmic cases and establish the solvability of the corresponding adjoint systems in order to derive the associated first-order necessary optimality conditions for the optimal control problem. Crucial for the whole analysis to work is the so-called ``strict separation property'', which states that the order parameter attains its values in a compact subset of the interior of the effective domain of the nonlinearity. While this separation property turns out to be generally valid for regular potentials in three dimensions of space, it can be shown for the logarithmic case only in two dimensions.

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