# Optimal control of partial differential equations and variational inequalities

Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation deals with optimal control of mathematical models described by partial
differential equations and variational inequalities. It consists of two parts. In the first part,
optimal control of a two dimensional steady state thermistor problem is considered. The
thermistor problem is described by a system of two nonlinear elliptic partial differential
equations coupled with some boundary conditions. The boundary conditions show how the
thermistor is connected to its surroundings. Based on physical considerations, an objective
functional to be minimized is introduced and the convective boundary coefficient is taken to
be a control. Existence and uniqueness of the optimal control are proven. To characterize
this optimal control, the optimality system consisting of the state and adjoint equations is
derived.
In the second part we consider a variational inequality of the obstacle type where the
underlying partial differential operator is biharmonic. This kind of variational inequality
arises in plasticity theory. It concerns the small transverse displacement of a plate when
its boundary is fixed and the whole plate is subject to a pressure to lie on one side of an
obstacle. We consider an optimal control problem where the state of the system is given by
the solution of the variational inequality and the obstacle is taken to be a control. For a
given target profile we want to find an obstacle such that the corresponding solution to the
variational inequality is close the target profile while the norm of the obstacle does not get
too large in the appropriate space. We prove existence of an optimal control and derive the
optimality system by using approximation techniques. Namely, the variational inequality
and the objective functional are approximated by a semilinear partial differential equation
and a corresponding approximating functional, respectively.
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Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

School Location:USA - Tennessee

Source Type:Master's Thesis

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