On two coupled degenerate parabolic equations motivated by thermodynamics
We discuss a system of two coupled parabolic equations that have degenerate diffusion constants depending on the energy-like variable. The dissipation of the velocity-like variable is fed as a source term into the energy equation leading to conservation of the total energy. The motivation of studying this system comes from Prandtl's and Kolmogorov's one and two-equation models for turbulence, where the energy-like variable is the mean turbulent kinetic energy. Because of the degeneracies there are solutions with time-dependent support like in the porous medium equation, which is contained in our system as a special case. The motion of the free boundary may be driven by either self-diffusion of the energy-like variable or by dissipation of the velocity-like variable. The cross-over of these two phenomena is exemplified for the associated planar traveling fronts. We provide existence of suitably defined weak and very weak solutions. After providing a thermodynamically motivated gradient structure we also establish convergence into steady state for bounded domains and provide a conjecture on the asymptotically self-similar behavior of the solutions in Rd for large times.