Multiphase Allen–Cahn and Cahn–Hilliard models and their discretizations with the effect of pairwise surface tensions

Shuonan Wu, Jinchao Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


In this paper, the mathematical properties and numerical discretizations of multiphase models that simulate the phase separation of an N-component mixture are studied. For the general choice of phase variables, the unisolvent property of the coefficient matrix involved in the N-phase models based on the pairwise surface tensions is established. Moreover, the symmetric positive-definite property of the coefficient matrix on an (N−1)-dimensional hyperplane — which is of fundamental importance to the well-posedness of the models — can be proved equivalent to some physical condition for pairwise surface tensions. The N-phase Allen–Cahn and N-phase Cahn–Hilliard equations can then be derived from the free-energy functional. A natural property is that the resulting dynamics of concentrations are independent of phase variables chosen. Finite element discretizations for N-phase models can be obtained as a natural extension of the existing discretizations for the two-phase model. The discrete energy law of the numerical schemes can be proved and numerically observed under some restrictions pertaining to time step size. Numerical experiments including the spinodal decomposition and the evolution of triple junctions are described in order to investigate the effect of pairwise surface tensions.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10-32
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Computational Physics
StatePublished - Aug 15 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Generated from Scopus record by KAUST IRTS on 2023-02-15

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)
  • Computer Science Applications


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