I would like to solve two different partial differential equations each one defined in a different region and in different coordinates. However the equations are coupled through a boundary condition at a common boundary. How can I do this in Mathematica?

To simplify the problem and make the question more specific. If, for example, I consider time-dependent diffusion problem on the space interval [0, 2] (assuming in the following diffusion coefficient(s) to be equal to unity):


Plot3D[sol[t,x],{t,0,Tmax},{x,0,2}, PlotRange->All]

This works fine. If now I reformulate the same problem for two diffusion equations defined at the regions [0,1] and [1,2], respectively, and connect them through the equality of concentrations and fluxes at the point x=1, I would assume this should result in something like this:

bcs={c1[t,0]==1,c1[t,1]==c2[t,1],Derivative[0, 1][c1][t, 1] == Derivative[0, 1][c2][t, 1],c2[t,2]==Exp[-1000*t]};


The latter, however return the error "The length of the derivative operator Derivative[1,0] in c1(1,0)[t,x] is not the same as the number of arguments." assuming that both c1 and c2 should be the functions of t, x and y and not c1[t,x], c2[t,y].

Could you please help to solve the problem?


1 Answer 1


If I understand your question correctly, you could solve one PDE over the entire region and have different PDE coefficients active in different parts of the region, like so:

sol = NDSolveValue[{Inactive[
       Div][-If[x <= 1, {{10}}, {{1}}].Inactive[Grad][
         u[x], {x}], {x}] == 1, DirichletCondition[u[x] == 0, True]}, 
   u, {x, 0, 2}];
Plot[sol[x], {x, 0, 2}]

enter image description here


As long as the point where you want an internal DirichletCondition is part of the mesh you can have those too:

sol = NDSolveValue[{Inactive[
       Div][-If[x <= 1, {{10}}, {{1}}].Inactive[Grad][
         u[x], {x}], {x}] == 1, 
    DirichletCondition[u[x] == 0, x == 0 || x == 2], 
    DirichletCondition[u[x] == 0.5, x == 1]}, u, {x, 0, 2}, 
   Method -> {"FiniteElement", 
     "MeshOptions" -> {"IncludePoints" -> {{1.}}}}];
Plot[sol[x], {x, 0, 2}]

Note that everything remains the same, I just included a point at coordinate 1. and set a different DirichletCondition there.

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for help! I believe this will work in my case. Since I need to solve different PDEs in two contiguous regions, as I stated in the question, I can combine both equations into a single general PDE and zero some terms in one region and the rest of the terms in the other, like you proposed. Thank you once again. $\endgroup$
    – Alexander
    May 22, 2016 at 10:38
  • $\begingroup$ The drawback of this approach, however, is that it's impossible to set explicitly a boundary condition at the "sewing" point. $\endgroup$
    – Alexander
    May 22, 2016 at 13:25
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Alexander, there is no such drawback. $\endgroup$
    – user21
    May 22, 2016 at 20:43
  • $\begingroup$ Agree! ) Thanks a lot! $\endgroup$
    – Alexander
    May 23, 2016 at 20:27
  • $\begingroup$ Just out of curiosity, what if I want a 3rd type boundary condition using NeumannValue[] at x==1? $\endgroup$
    – 407PZ
    Sep 29, 2017 at 9:15

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