
Differential Equations Ordinary and Partial Differential Equations Math Forum 
 LinkBack  Thread Tools  Display Modes 
September 15th, 2014, 06:10 PM  #1 
Senior Member Joined: Jan 2014 Posts: 196 Thanks: 3  Understanding Conservation Law with no Sources
can someone elaborate on $\displaystyle u_t + \phi_x = 0$ , the fundamental conservation law. Is this describing a scenario where density is changing locally, but does not leave the boundary area, hence no sink or source term? Thank you 
September 16th, 2014, 02:33 AM  #2 
Senior Member Joined: Apr 2014 From: Glasgow Posts: 2,086 Thanks: 700 Math Focus: Physics, mathematical modelling, numerical and computational solutions 
The above equation is called the continuity equation and it basically states that given some fixed volume, the change in the amount of some conserved quantity (for example, mass) in the volume is equal to the amount passing through the boundary of that volume. Generally it is taken that a positive flux is for mass/whatever leaving the volume. For example, let's say I take some stuff out of a box. If the rate of change of mass ($\displaystyle u_t$) in a box is 1kg per second, then the law states that I have a flux out of the lid of the box ($\displaystyle \phi_x$) of 1 kg per second. You are right to say that the average density of mass inside the control volume would change, but you are not obligated to use the continuity equation to describe how it's internal components behave. You'd want to typically do this for diffuse systems (such as mass transport of gases/plasma or heat transport), where you would apply it everywhere. If you only care about the boundary of a container/geometry, you can apply the law at the boundary only if you wish. You are also correct to state that there is no sink/source term in the equation. Last edited by Benit13; September 16th, 2014 at 02:46 AM. 

Tags 
conservation, law, sources, understanding 
Thread Tools  
Display Modes  

Similar Threads  
Thread  Thread Starter  Forum  Replies  Last Post 
Is the start of the Universe against the law of conservation of energy?  Kavesat  Physics  7  July 22nd, 2014 02:39 PM 
Conservation of Energy Problem  edwinandrew  Physics  2  April 28th, 2014 03:16 AM 
Mechanics, conservation of momentum  Nazz  Algebra  6  January 14th, 2014 03:10 PM 
Math Research Sources???  rjouwena  Math Books  3  December 18th, 2013 08:38 PM 
Sources in ZF Set Theory  Hooman  Math Books  1  October 5th, 2011 11:55 AM 