Structure preserving discretisations of gradient flows for axisymmetric two-phase biomembranes

03/06/2020
by   Harald Garcke, et al.
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The form and evolution of multi-phase biomembranes is of fundamental importance in order to understand living systems. In order to describe these membranes, we consider a mathematical model based on a Canham–Helfrich–Evans two-phase elastic energy, which will lead to fourth order geometric evolution problems involving highly nonlinear boundary conditions. We develop a parametric finite element method in an axisymmetric setting. Using a variational approach, it is possible to derive weak formulations for the highly nonlinear boundary value problems such that energy decay laws, as well as conservation properties, hold for spatially discretised problems. We will prove these properties and show that the fully discretised schemes are well-posed. Finally, several numerical computations demonstrate that the numerical method can be used to compute complex, experimentally observed two-phase biomembranes.

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