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Journal of the Brazilian Society of Mechanical Sciences and Engineering

Print version ISSN 1678-5878


BEVILACQUA, Luiz; GALEAO, Augusto C. N. R.  and  COSTA, Flavio P.. On the significance of higher order differential terms in diffusion processes. J. Braz. Soc. Mech. Sci. & Eng. [online]. 2011, vol.33, n.2, pp.166-175. ISSN 1678-5878.

This paper deals with the analysis of diffusion coupled with temporary retention motivated by the challenge to solve the problem of population spreading. Retention may be associated to colonization of the occupied territory in this case. The discrete approach was selected to deal with this problem due to its relative simplicity and straightforward mathematical treatment. Two types of problems are analyzed namely: symmetric spreading with temporary retention, and propagation with temporary retention. It is clearly shown that higher order differential terms must be included in the governing equations of diffusion and propagation to represent the temporary retention effect. Specifically third and fourth order terms are associated to the retention effect in propagation and diffusion processes respectively. Control parameters regulating the relative influence of the diffusion and the retention terms in the governing equations come up naturally from the analysis. After the appropriated operations the finite difference equations reduce to partial differential equations. The control parameters are kept in the partial differential equations. These parameters are essential in the governing equations to avoid uncontrolled accumulation of particles due to the retention effect. The diffusion-retention problem appearing in several physicochemical problems are governed by the same equations derived here. The current literature refers to several types of diffusion-retention problems, but all solutions assume the classical second order equation as the basic reference. A short analysis of the equilibrium conditions for diffusion-retention problems with a source helps to show the coherence of the theory. In order to explore the potentialities of the discrete approach the problem of asymmetric distribution is also analyzed.

Keywords : discrete mathematics; diffusion; mathematical modeling; temporary retention.

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