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Dynamics of director fields. (English) Zbl 0761.35063
The authors study the quasilinear wave equation \(\psi_{tt}=c(\psi)[c(\psi)\psi_ x]_ x\), which is a simplified equation for the director field of a nematic liquid crystal. Making the usual Ansatz of weakly nonlinear geometrical optics, they obtain for the first order term the quasilinear equation \((u_ t+uu_ x)_ x=(1/2)u^ 2_ x\).
An essential part of the paper consists in studying solutions of this equation. It is shown that in general smooth solutions do not exist globally, weak solutions are defined, and admissibility criteria are suggested. Simple examples of continuous, weak solutions with corners are given, which show that weak solutions are not unique. The asymptotic solutions are compared with numerical solutions.
These results are used to construct asymptotic solutions of the original equation.

35L70 Second-order nonlinear hyperbolic equations
35C20 Asymptotic expansions of solutions to PDEs
35L85 Unilateral problems for linear hyperbolic equations and variational inequalities with linear hyperbolic operators
76A99 Foundations, constitutive equations, rheology, hydrodynamical models of non-fluid phenomena
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