Model for shock wave chaos

Phys Rev Lett. 2013 Mar 8;110(10):104104. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.110.104104. Epub 2013 Mar 8.


We propose the following model equation, u(t) + 1/2(u(2)-uu(s))x = f(x,u(s)) that predicts chaotic shock waves, similar to those in detonations in chemically reacting mixtures. The equation is given on the half line, x<0, and the shock is located at x = 0 for any t ≥ 0. Here, u(s)(t) is the shock state and the source term f is taken to mimic the chemical energy release in detonations. This equation retains the essential physics needed to reproduce many properties of detonations in gaseous reactive mixtures: steady traveling wave solutions, instability of such solutions, and the onset of chaos. Our model is the first (to our knowledge) to describe chaos in shock waves by a scalar first-order partial differential equation. The chaos arises in the equation thanks to an interplay between the nonlinearity of the inviscid Burgers equation and a novel forcing term that is nonlocal in nature and has deep physical roots in reactive Euler equations.