Solution of some engineering partial differential equations governed by the minimal of a functional by global optimization method

Yung Ming Cheng, D. Z. Li, N. Li, Y. Y. Lee, S. K. Au

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Many engineering problems are governed by partial differential equations which can be solved by analytical as well as numerical methods, and examples include the plasticity problem of a geotechnical system, seepage problem and elasticity problem. Although the governing differential equations can be solved by either iterative finite difference method or finite element, there are however limitations to these methods in some special cases which will be discussed in the present paper. The solutions of these governing differential equations can all be viewed as the stationary value of a functional. Using an approximate solution as the initial solution, the stationary value of the functional can be obtained easily by modern global optimization method. Through the comparisons between analytical solutions and fine mesh finite element analysis, the use of global optimization method will be demonstrated to be equivalent to the solutions of the governing partial differential equations. The use of global optimization method can be an alternative to the finite difference/ finite element method in solving an engineering problem, and it is particularly attractive when an approximate solution is available or can be estimated easily.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)507-516
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Mechanics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2012


  • Differential equation
  • Optimization method
  • Ultimate limit state
  • Variational principle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics

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