Calculus of Variations and Geometric Measure Theory

L. Natile - G. Savaré

A Wasserstein approach to the one-dimensional sticky particle system

created by savare on 25 Feb 2009
modified on 13 Mar 2009


Submitted Paper

Inserted: 25 feb 2009
Last Updated: 13 mar 2009

Year: 2009


We present a simple approach to study the one-dimensional pressureless Euler system via adhesion dynamics in the Wasserstein space $P_2(R)$ of probability measures with finite quadratic moments.

Starting from a discrete system of a finite number of ``sticky'' particles, we obtain new explicit estimates of the solution in terms of the initial mass and momentum and we are able to construct an evolution semigroup in a measure-theoretic phase space, allowing mass distributions in $P_2(R)$ and corresponding $L^2$-velocity fields. We investigate various interesting properties of this semigroup, in particular its link with the gradient flow of the (opposite) squared Wasserstein distance. Our arguments rely on an equivalent formulation of the evolution as a gradient flow in the convex cone of nondecreasing functions in the Hilbert space $L^2(0,1)$, which corresponds to the Lagrangian system of coordinates given by the canonical monotone rearrangement of the measures.

Keywords: Wasserstein distance, Pressureless Euler equation, Sticky particles, Monotone rearrangement, Gradient flows