UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Topics in the asymptotic analysis of linear and nonlinear eigenvalue problems Lindsay, Alan Euan


In Applied Mathematics, linear and nonlinear eigenvalue problems arise frequently when characterizing the equilibria of various physical systems. In this thesis, two specific problems are studied, the first of which has its roots in micro engineering and concerns Micro-Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS). A MEMS device consists of an elastic beam deflecting in the presence of an electric field. Modelling such devices leads to nonlinear eigenvalue problems of second and fourth order whose solution properties are investigated by a variety of asymptotic and numerical techniques. The second problem studied in this thesis considers the optimal strategy for distributing a fixed quantity of resources in a bounded two dimensional domain so as to minimize the probability of extinction of some species evolving in the domain. Mathematically, this involves the study of an indefinite weight eigenvalue problem on an arbitrary two dimensional domain with homogeneous Neumann boundary conditions, and the optimization of the principal eigenvalue of this problem. Under the assumption that resources are placed on small patches whose area relative to that of the entire domain is small, the underlying eigenvalue problem is solved explicitly using the method of matched asymptotic expansions and several important qualitative results are established.

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