Numerical solutions of diffusion-type equations

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A method of obtaining numerical solutions of a general class of boundary-value problems governed by the two-dimensional diffusion equation is investigated. The method employs a partial discretization of independent variables to reduce the problem of partial differential equations to a sequence of related boundary-value problems governed by a system of linear second-order ordinary differential equations. The generality of the method is demonstrated by applications to example problems involving both regular and irregular boundaries with boundary conditions of a general type. Application of separation of variables techniques to obtain closed-form solutions of a certain class of problems is presented and the results are used to indicate the accuracy of the method. An investigation into the stability characteristics of the resulting system of ordinary differential equations is also presented. It is concluded that the method appears to show promise as an easily implemented numerical method but that the full potential of the approach will not be realized until significant advances have been made in both computing hardware and software.