WIAS Preprint No. 2509, (2018)

Well-posedness and regularity for a generalized fractional Cahn--Hilliard system


  • Colli, Pierluigi
    ORCID: 0000-0002-7921-5041
  • Gilardi, Gianni
    ORCID: 0000-0002-0651-4307
  • Sprekels, Jürgen
    ORCID: 0009-0000-0618-8604

2010 Mathematics Subject Classification

  • 35K45 35K90 35R11


  • Fractional operators, Cahn-Hilliard systems, well-posedness, regularity of solutions




In this paper, we investigate a rather general system of two operator equations that has the structure of a viscous or nonviscous Cahn--Hilliard system in which nonlinearities of double-well type occur. Standard cases like regular or logarithmic potentials, as well as non-differentiable potentials involving indicator functions, are admitted. The operators appearing in the system equations are fractional versions of general linear operators A and B, where the latter are densely defined, unbounded, self-adjoint and monotone in a Hilbert space of functions defined in a smooth domain and have compact resolvents. In this connection, we remark the fact that our definition of the fractional power of operators uses the approach via spectral theory. Typical cases are given by standard second-order elliptic differential operators (e.g., the Laplacian) with zero Dirichlet or Neumann boundary conditions, but also other cases like fourth-order systems or systems involving the Stokes operator are covered by the theory. We derive in this paper general well-posedness and regularity results that extend corresponding results which are known for either the non-fractional Laplacian with zero Neumann boundary condition or the fractional Laplacian with zero Dirichlet condition. These results are entirely new if at least one of the operators A and B differs from the Laplacian. It turns out that the first eigenvalue λ1 of A plays an important und not entirely obvious role: if λ1 is positive, then the operators A and B may be completely unrelated; if, however, λ1 equals zero, then it must be simple and the corresponding one-dimensional eigenspace has to consist of the constant functions and to be a subset of the domain of definition of a certain fractional power of B. We are able to show general existence, uniqueness, and regularity results for both these cases, as well as for both the viscous and the nonviscous system.

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