Time-Fractional Allen-Cahn Equations: Analysis and Numerical Methods

by   Qiang Du, et al.

In this work, we consider a time-fractional Allen-Cahn equation, where the conventional first order time derivative is replaced by a Caputo fractional derivative with order α∈(0,1). First, the well-posedness and (limited) smoothing property are systematically analyzed, by using the maximal L^p regularity of fractional evolution equations and the fractional Grönwall's inequality. We also show the maximum principle like their conventional local-in-time counterpart. Precisely, the time-fractional equation preserves the property that the solution only takes value between the wells of the double-well potential when the initial data does the same. Second, after discretizing the fractional derivative by backward Euler convolution quadrature, we develop several unconditionally solvable and stable time stepping schemes, i.e., convex splitting scheme, weighted convex splitting scheme and linear weighted stabilized scheme. Meanwhile, we study the discrete energy dissipation property (in a weighted average sense), which is important for gradient flow type models, for the two weighted schemes. Finally, by using a discrete version of fractional Grönwall's inequality and maximal ℓ^p regularity, we prove that the convergence rates of those time-stepping schemes are O(τ^α) without any extra regularity assumption on the solution. We also present extensive numerical results to support our theoretical findings and to offer new insight on the time-fractional Allen-Cahn dynamics.


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