Acta Mech Sin DOI 10.



Nonlinear excitations and “peakons” of a (2+1)-dimensional generalized Broer-Kaup system
X. Y. Tang · K. W. Chow · S. Y. Lou

Received: 12 July 2006 / Accepted: 11 October 2006 © Springer-Verlag 2007

Abstract Shallow water waves and a host of long wave phenomena are commonly investigated by various models of nonlinear evolution equations. Examples include the Korteweg–de Vries, the Camassa–Holm, and the Whitham–Broer–Kaup (WBK) equations. Here a generalized WBK system is studied via the multi-linear variable separation approach. A special class of wave profiles with discontinuous derivatives (“peakons”) is developed. Peakons of various features, e.g. periodic, pulsating or fractal, are investigated and interactions of such entities are studied. Keywords Shallow water wave · Excitation · Broer–Kaup system · Peakon

1 Introduction The problem of computing finite amplitude waves on the free surface of an otherwise irrotational fluid has attracted tremendous attention over the years. For the regime of weak nonlinearity and weak dispersion, the Korteweg-de Vries and Boussinesq models have been developed [1, 2]. Permanent, solitary pulses can propagate without changes in shape as nonlinearity balances dispersion. Elegant theories of these and related “integrable” models have been developed, and have generated significant information on evolution systems in general. For amplitudes beyond the weakly nonlinear regime, a straightforward perturbation theory can be developed. However, the calculations of these higher order terms can become tedious and oppressive quite rapidly. Computer algebra can mitigate these difficulties to a certain extent [3–6]. Alternative methods involving integral equations have been explored. Part of the reason for all these interests is to understand the nonlinear dynamics as the free surface profile approaches the “highest wave”, which has a cusp corner and an included angle of 120 degree. The purpose of the present work is to substantiate the fact that cusp corners, or discontinuities in the derivatives, can exist even in model evolution equations in the weakly nonlinear regime. Indeed a pioneer work [7] demonstrated that a dispersive, shallow water equation (the Camassa–Holm equation hereafter) is bi-Hamiltonian, and possesses an infinite number of conservation laws. The remarkable feature is that “peakons”, or solutions with discontinuous first derivatives, exist. Since then the theories of wave motion with peaks or sharp corners have developed rapidly. As concrete

The project supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (10475055, 10547124 and 90503006), and the Hong Kong Research Grant Council Contract HKU 7123/05E. X. Y. Tang (B) · S. Y. Lou Department of Physics, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200030, China e-mail: K. W. Chow Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China e-mail: S. Y. Lou Department of Physics, Ningbo University, Ningbo 315211, China e-mail:

X. Y. Tang et al.

examples, peakons for (2+1) (2 spatial and 1 temporal) dimensional evolution equations have been obtained [8]. Furthermore, discrete peakons are also observed in Klein Gordon and nonlinear Schrodinger types chains with long range interactions [9]. This paper focuses on a particular form of higher order Boussinesq equation, known as the generalized Broer–Kaup equation (GBK hereafter) [10–12] (and references therein). GBK is actually an extension of the so called Whitham–Broer–Kaup system (WBK) using Painlevé analysis. WBK is a valuable model for long waves by incorporating or mimicking convective, dispersive and viscous effects. Recently periodic generalizations of some novel structures in higher dimensions, such as solitoffs, line and kink solitons, have been computed. One objective of the present work is to calculate periodic extensions of these peakon structures, using GBK as an example. The framework of the present paper can now be explained. A general multi-linear variable separation solution of the GBK with multi-component is first presented (Sect. 2). Nonlinear coherent structures with discontinuous derivatives or corners, e.g. localized and periodic peakons are then presented (Sect. 3). Conclusions are outlined in Sect. 4.

where {h0 , g0 , u0 } is any seed solution, can transform the GBK system (1)–(3) into [2(a + h0 )Dx + Dt + 2bDy + ∂x Dx ]Dx φ · φ + 4h0x φφx = 0, (g0 − 2h0y )D2 φ x u0y − g0x = 0, · φ + 2(g0 − 2h0y )x φφx = 0, (5) (6) (7)

where Dx , Dy and Dt are the Hirota’s bilinear differential operators. A simple calculation reveals that the seed solution {h0 , g0 , u0 } can be the form of g0 = 0, u0 = f (t)e−ax + e−ax eax (h0xx − h0t − 2h0 h0x )dx, (8)

with h0 being an arbitrary function of {x, t}. With this seed solution, Eqs.(6)–(7) are satisfied identically. Substitution of Eq. (8) into Eq. (5) and integration of the resulting equation once with respect to x yield 2(a + h0 )φx + φxx + φt + 2bφy + K(y, t)φ = 0, (9)

where K(y, t) is an arbitrary integration function of the indicated arguments. Obviously, Eq. (9) is linear in φ, and a quite general solution form of φ can be taken as

2 General multi-linear variable separation solution of the GBK system A generalized Broer–Kaup system (GBK) is obtained from the classical Whitham–Broer–Kaup equations by insisting that integrability and Painlevé properties be preserved: ht − hxx + 2hhx + ux + au + bg = 0, gt + gxx + 2(gh)x + 4a(gx − hxy ) + 4b(gy − hyy ) + c(g − 2hy ) = 0, uy = gx , (2) (3) (1)


pi (x, t)qi (y, t) ≡

pi qi .


Substituting (10) into (9) dictates that p and q are given by pit = −pixx − 2(a + h0 )pix − Ci pi , i = 1, 2, . . . , N, qit = −2bqiy − qi (K − Ci ), i = 1, 2, . . . , N, (12) where Ci , i = 1, 2, . . . , N are all arbitrary functions of t. Hence, the final general multilinear variable separation solution reads h= 2
N i=1 pix qi N i=1 pi qi N i=1


where a, b, c are constants [13]. If a = b = c = 0, then the GBK system reduces to the usual (2+1)-dimensional BK equation [14]. Other integrablitity properties, such as the existence of Lax pairs, are still open. However, nonlinear coherent structures of GBK have already been considered intensively [10, 12, 15]. It is known that the following Bäcklund transformation h = (ln φ)x + h0 , g = 2(ln φ)xy + g0 , u = 2(ln φ)xx + u0 , (4)

+ h0 ,



N j=1 pix pj (qj qiy − qi qjy ) , N N i=1 j=1 pi qi pj qj N j=1 qi qj (pixx pj − pix pjx ) N N i=1 j=1 pi qi pj qj




N i=1

+ e−ax f (t) (15)

+ e−ax

eax (h0xx − h0t − 2h0 h0x )dx,

Nonlinear excitations and “peakons” of a (2+1)-dimensional generalized Broer-Kaup system

Fig. 1 Interaction between two twin-type peakons at times a t = −5 (before interaction) and b t = 5 (after interaction)

where h0 ≡ h0 (x, t) and f (t) are arbitrary functions of the indicated variables, pi , qi , i = 1, 2, . . . , N are functions of {x, t} and {y, t} satisfying Eq. (11) and Eq. (12), respectively. Remark 1 When N = 4, q1 = a0 , q2 = a1 , q3 = a2 q, q4 = a3 q, p1 = p3 = 1, p2 = p4 = p, where p ≡ p(x, t), q ≡ q(x, t) are functions of the indicated variables, the solution expression of g (14) reduces to g= 2qy px (a0 a3 − a1 a2 ) , (a0 + a1 p + a2 q + a3 pq)2 (16)

3 Nonlinear excitations and interactions As discussed in Sect. 1, we shall focus on peakons related structures and their interactions. Theoretically, properties of g in Eq. (17) are studied by selecting different arbitrary functions for p, q1 , q2 . (1) Twin-type peakon. Generally it is quite straightforward to construct a symmetric, dipole type localized excitation with both positive and negative displacements. Recently a dromion structure with four non-identical, positive peaks separated by two perpendicular narrow gaps, has been discovered [17]. Along this line of reasoning, we attempt to build a peakon structure with two non-identical peaks. A little experimentation shows that the following choice will succeed (shown in Fig. 1): p = 1+ + ek1 (x−ω1 t) , 2 − e−k1 (x−ω1 t) , ek2 (x−ω2 t) , 2 − e−k2 (x−ω2 t) , q2 = ec2 y ,

which shares the similar form of the universal quantity for various (2+1)-dimensional integrable models [16]. Similar remarks apply to solution component h. Remark 2 Regarding condition (11), only one of the pi is arbitrary. This particular choice of pi is utilized to obtain the unknown function h0 , while the remaining functions are determined by Eq. (11). Similarly, one of the qi is completely arbitrary and employed to determine the function K. It is worthwhile to point out that a similar solution is actually reported earlier in Ref. [10]. However, an arbitrary function resulting from integration has been ignored there, and the additional degree of freedom in choosing qi is lost. Furthermore, all the coherent structures obtained earlier [10] were still constructed directly from the simple expression (16). Thus the present work is more general. To generate coherent excitations from the general solution (14) is still a non-trivial task. We consider a simpler case in Remark 3 below. Remark 3 For simplicity, it is possible to choose N = 2, C1 = C2 = 0, K = 0, p2 → a0 + p1 , q2 → 1 + q2 such that the solution expression of g (14) becomes g= 2a0 p1x (q1y (1 + q2 ) − q1 q2y ) , (a0 + p1 + a0 q2 + p1 (q1 + q2 ))2 (17)

x ≤ ω1 t x > ω1 t x ≤ ω2 t, x > ω2 t, (18) (19)

q1 = 5ec1 y , and

ω1 = c1 = k1 = k2 = 1, c2 = ω2 = −2, a0 = 10. (20) (2) Periodic peakon and two-dipole-type peakon. Spatially periodic structures will result from a choice of the Jacobi elliptic functions in the building blocks of the multi-linear variable separation approach. For instance, if Eq. (19) is replaced by q1 = cn(c1 y, m), q2 = sech(c2 y), (21)

where a0 is an arbitrary constant, p1 is an arbitrary functions of {x, t}, q1 and q2 are arbitrary functions of (y − 2bt).

then a type of periodic peakon is generated. The first two snapshots in Fig. 2 are the non-elastic interactions between two periodic peakons under the constraints (18), (20) and (21) with modulus m = 0.9 before and after the interaction, respectively. When the modulus m approaches 1, the long wave limit of the periodic peakon is found to be a two-dipole-type peakon shown in last two snapshots in Fig. 2 correspondingly.

X. Y. Tang et al.

Fig. 2 Two snapshots of two moving singly periodic peakons at times a t = −6 (before interaction) and b t = 6 (after interaction) with modulus m = 0.9. c and d are the long wave limit of a and b, respectively, say m = 1

(3) Interaction between a peakon and a solitoff. In the last two cases and most of the previous works in the literature, only interactions between/among coherent structures of the same family are studied. Actually, interaction properties between different structures are also very crucial [18]. In this sense, the interaction between peakon and solitoff is studied here. To be precise, let us choose p= x ≤ ω1 t ek1 (x−ω1 t) , −k1 (x−ω1 t) , x > ω t 2−e 1 + ek2 (x−ω2 t) , 2 − e−k2 (x−ω2 t) , x ≤ ω2 t, x > ω2 , (22)

fractal expression. To be precise, in one spatial direction we define the arbitrary function in a piecewise manner, while we select expressions with fractal structures in the other spatial direction. An example (shown in Fig. 4) for this mechanism is illustrated by the following choice: p = e−x(x+sin(ln(x q2 = sech(y), q1 = 2 − e−y , ey , y ≤ 0, 0 < y,
2 ))−cos(ln(x2 )))

, (23)

q1 = 1 + ec1 y ,

q2 = ec2 y ,

then a peakon and a solitoff can be produced simultaneously. A solitoff is a (2 + 1)-dimensional structure decaying exponentially in all directions except for a preferred one. Figure 3 shows the peakon and solitoff before and after interaction with the constant parameters ω1 = k1 = k2 = 1, ω2 = −2, c1 = 2, c2 = −1, a0 = 5. A close observation of the figures reveals that such an interaction is also non-elastic. (4) Fractal peakon. Fractal structures in higher spatial dimensions can also be readily produced by assigning fractal initial and/or boundary conditions in the multilinear variable separation approach. For the present formulation with arbitrary functions, the procedure is especially simple. A “fractal peakon” is obtained by defining one (two or more) arbitrary function(s) to be a

and a0 = 100. (5) Breathing peakon. Generally speaking, the choice of spatially periodic functions will lead to structures which repeat themselves regularly over space. The choice of temporally periodic functions, however, will lead to pulsating modes which repeat themselves over time, i.e. breathers. Depending on the spatial structures chosen, breathers of various types can be manufactured. Along the theme of the present work, we shall choose “seed functions” such that a “breathing peakon” is produced: p = sech(k1 (x3 + x + 1)(1.2 + cos(2π t))), q1 = 2 − e−c1 y , ec1 y , y ≤ 0, y > 0, y ≤ 0, y > 0. (24)

ec2 y , q2 = 2 − e−c2 y ,


(6) Peakon-type instantons. On the other hand, time decaying functions give birth to instantons. For instance, if

Nonlinear excitations and “peakons” of a (2+1)-dimensional generalized Broer-Kaup system

Fig. 3 Snapshots of the interaction between a peakon and solitoff at the times a t = −5 (before interaction) and b t = 5 (after the interaction)

Fig. 4 a The localized structure of a special fractal peakon solution. b The density plot of the peakon at the range {x = [−0.03, 0.13], y = [−1, 3]}. The same pictures can be found at infinitely many smaller ranges along x-direction like x =

[−0.00135, 0.0059], [−0.00006, 0.00026], [−0.0000025, 0.0000113], [−0.00000011, 0.00000048],. . ., while the ranges along y-direction are fixed as y = [−1, 3]

p = 2sech(k1 x)sech(k2 t),


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then the solution (17) with (26) and (25) denotes a peakon-type instanton. Under the parameters a0 = 13, k1 = c1 = 1, k2 = c2 = 1/3, the dipole-type peakon decays quickly from ∼ ±0.044 to ∼ ±2.4e−23 with time from t = 0 to t = 10.

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