The Method of Characteristics

University essay from Mälardalens universitet/Akademin för utbildning, kultur och kommunikation

Abstract: Differential equations, in particular partial differential equations, are used to mathematically describe many physical phenomenon. The importance of being able to solve these types of equations can therefore not be overstated. This thesis is going to elucidate one method, the method of characteristics, which can in some cases be used to solve partial differential equations. To further the reader’s understanding on the method this paper will provide some important insights on differential equations as well as show examples on how the method of characteristics can be used to solve partial differential equations of various complexity. We will also in this paper present some important geometric complications for linear partial differential equations which one might have to take into consideration when using the method.

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