### Abstract

Finite time singularity formation in a fourth order nonlinear parabolic partial differential equation (PDE) is analyzed. The PDE is a variant of a ubiquitous model found in the field of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and is studied on a one-dimensional (1D) strip and the unit disc. The solution itself remains continuous at the point of singularity while its higher derivatives diverge, a phenomenon known as quenching. For certain parameter regimes it is shown numerically that the singularity will form at multiple isolated points in the 1D strip case and along a ring of points in the radially symmetric two-dimensional case. The location of these touchdown points is accurately predicted by means of asymptotic expansions. The solution itself is shown to converge to a stable self-similar profile at the singularity point. Analytical calculations are verified by use of adaptive numerical methods which take advantage of symmetries exhibited by the underlying PDE to accurately resolve solutions very close to the singularity.

Original language | English (US) |
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Pages (from-to) | 935-958 |

Number of pages | 24 |

Journal | SIAM Journal on Applied Mathematics |

Volume | 72 |

Issue number | 3 |

DOIs | |

State | Published - 2012 |

### Keywords

- Biharmonic equations
- Self-similar solutions
- Singularity formation
- Touchdown

### ASJC Scopus subject areas

- Applied Mathematics