I am trying to solve the following differential equation:

DSolve[{y''[x] == A*B (y[x])^2, y'[0] == -B*C, y'[-D] == 0}, y[x], x]     

For my system, this differential equation would be valid in the range of -D < x < 0. Mathematica says:

For some branches of the general solution, unable to solve the conditions.

Without boundary conditions, I get a solution consisting of a Weierstrass elliptic function, but Mathematica is not able to solve for the boundary conditions, even if I use a simpler series expansion of the solution.

In general, I am not directly interested in y[x], but in y[0]/C. I have experimental data for sets of y[0], B, C and D.

Ideally, I would like to have a general solution for y[0]/C to be able to analyze it and to compare the behavior with my experimental data, but I am not able to solve the boundary value problem. Maybe a part of the problem is that the Weierstrass elliptic functions are periodic and I only need one branch of that ?

If a general solution is not possible, a numerical solution could also be helpful. How could I calculate the value of A for the data sets of y[0], B, C and D ? I appreciate any help.

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    – Michael E2
    Dec 3, 2014 at 17:51
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ 1. It's better to avoid using capitals as variable names as they might conflict with builtins (C and D are builtins) 2. For a numerical solution, ParametricNDSolve might be helpful. $\endgroup$
    – Szabolcs
    Dec 3, 2014 at 18:24
  • $\begingroup$ The Weierstrass Elliptic Function contains 2nd order poles, and DSolve has no way of knowing whether your two boundary points lie on opposite sides of a pole. Perhaps, specifying the allowed range of values for D would help. $\endgroup$
    – bbgodfrey
    Dec 5, 2014 at 2:38

1 Answer 1


For a numerical solution, we can use FindRoot to find the a for given b, c, d, and y[0] == yinit such that the solution to the IVP y[0] == yinit, y'[0] == -b*c, satisfies the boundary condition y'[-d] == 0.

SeedRandom[0];          (* random data *)
b0 = RandomReal[1, 3];
c0 = RandomReal[1, 3];
d0 = RandomReal[1, 3];
y0 = RandomReal[1, 3];

{solp} = ParametricNDSolve[
  {y''[x] == a*b (y[x])^2, y'[0] == -b*c, y[0] == yinit},
  y, {x, -d, 0}, {a, b, c, d, yinit}];

 y[a, Sequence @@ #]'[           (* y' for the parameters *)
                     -#[[3]]     (* -d *)
                     ] /. solp,
 {a, 0.01}
 ] & /@ Transpose[{b0, c0, d0, y0}]
  {{a -> -5.20439}, {a -> -14.6164}, {a -> -13.7974}}

Remark: (1) To find a single a for a given b = b1, c = c1, d = d1, y[0] = y1, the call to FindRoot has the form

FindRoot[y[a, b1, c1, d1, y1]'[-d] /. solp, {a, 0.01}]

(2) For some functions the starting value in FindRoot for a is important. For the random data above, it does not happen to matter. (I chose 0.01 to avoid the value 0 in case there was a problem.)


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