Linear hyperbolic equations with time-dependent propagation speed and strong damping

Research paper by Marina Ghisi, Massimo Gobbino

Indexed on: 15 Aug '14Published on: 15 Aug '14Published in: Mathematics - Analysis of PDEs


We consider a second order linear equation with a time-dependent coefficient c(t) in front of the "elastic" operator. For these equations it is well-known that a higher space-regularity of initial data compensates a lower time-regularity of c(t). In this paper we investigate the influence of a strong dissipation, namely a friction term which depends on a power of the elastic operator. What we discover is a threshold effect. When the exponent of the elastic operator in the friction term is greater than 1/2, the damping prevails and the equation behaves as if the coefficient c(t) were constant. When the exponent is less than 1/2, the time-regularity of c(t) comes into play. If c(t) is regular enough, once again the damping prevails. On the contrary, when c(t) is not regular enough the damping might be ineffective, and there are examples in which the dissipative equation behaves as the non-dissipative one. As expected, the stronger is the damping, the lower is the time-regularity threshold. We also provide counterexamples showing the optimality of our results.