Date of Award

Spring 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Computational Engineering and Science


Bartosz Protas




In this work we propose and validate a computational method for reconstructing constitutive relations (material properties) in complex multiphysics phenomena based on incomplete and noisy measurements which is applicable to different problems arising in nonequilibrium thermodynamics and continuum mechanics. The parameter estimation problem is solved as PDE–constrained optimization using a gradient–based technique in the optimize–then–discretize framework. The reconstructed material properties taken as an example here are the transport coefficients characterizing diffusion processes such as the viscosity and the thermal conductivity, and we focus on problems in which these coefficients depend on the state variables in the system. The proposed method allows one to reconstruct a smooth constitutive relation defined over a broad range of the dependent variable. This research is motivated by questions arising in the computational analysis and optimization of advanced welding processes which involves modelling complex alloys in the liquid phase at high temperatures.

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