For our first two papers, we essentially reused the same few examples as model problems to test our method with (sine-Gordon and Brusselator). For our next paper, my advisor wanted something different and pointed towards the Grey-Scott equations. It’s a simple reaction diffusion equation as follows

\begin{align*}

\frac{\partial u}{\partial t} &= d_u\Delta u – uv^2 + F(1 – u) \\

\frac{\partial v}{\partial t} &= d_v\Delta v + uv^2 – (F+k)v

\end{align*}

where $F, k, d_u, d_v$ are constants.

There’s a short paper (“Complex Patterns in a Simple System,” by John E. Pearson) where he plots the function for different values of $F, k$. The problem for me in replicating that paper is that Pearson employed a periodic boundary condition, which is easy to implement for finite different and spectral methods, but a bit awkward for finite element methods (if you’re not using a very specific mesh).

The solution is quite nifty. Instead of a 2D plane, we simply project the domain onto a torus. It turns out FEM code on a surface is almost the same as on a plane, unless one uses curvilinear elements which then becomes a hassle. Furthermore, visualization gives pretty cool results… take a look at the two simulations below (their parameters differ just ever so slightly, but ends up giving drastically different patterns, though both reach a steady state):