- Research Article
- Open Access
A Note on a Beam Equation with Nonlinear Boundary Conditions
© Paolamaria Pietramala. 2011
- Received: 14 May 2010
- Accepted: 31 July 2010
- Published: 12 August 2010
We present new results on the existence of multiple positive solutions of a fourth-order differential equation subject to nonlocal and nonlinear boundary conditions that models a particular stationary state of an elastic beam with nonlinear controllers. Our results are based on classical fixed point index theory. We improve and complement previous results in the literature. This is illustrated in some examples.
- Nonlinear Boundary Condition
- Nonlinear Controller
- Integral Boundary Condition
- Multiple Positive Solution
- Hammerstein Integral Equation
that models a bar with the left end being simply supported (hinged) and the right end being sliding clamped. This problem, and its generalizations, has been studied previously by Davies and coauthors , Graef and Henderson  and Yao .
model a bar where the displacement and the bending moment at are zero, and there are relations, not necessarily linear, between the shearing force and the angular attitude at and the displacement in two other points of the beam.
involving Riemann-Stieltjes integrals.
The conditions (1.5)-(1.6) cover a variety of cases and include, as special cases when , multipoint and integral boundary conditions. These are widely studied objects in the case of fourth-order BVPs; see, for example, [5–14]. BCs of nonlinear type also have been studied before in the case of fourth-order equations; see, for example, [15–20] and references therein.
The study of positive solutions of BVPs that involve Stieltjes integrals has been done, in the case of positive measures, in [21–24]. Signed measures were used in [12, 25]; here, as in [21, 22], due to some inequalities involved in our theory, the functionals are assumed to be given by positive measures.
and gives a simple general method to avoid long technical calculations.
In our paper the approach of  is applied to BVP (1.1)–(1.6): we rewrite this BVP as a perturbed Hammerstein integral equation, and we prove the existence of multiple positive solutions under a suitable oscillatory behavior of the nonlinearity . We observe that our results are new even for the local BCs, when . We illustrate our theory with some examples. We also point out that this approach may be utilized for other sets of nonlinear BCs that have a physical interpretation, this is done in the last section.
and we show that we can study this problem by means of a perturbation of the Hammerstein integral equation (2.2).
Our assumptions are the following:
We observe, as in , that leaves invariant and is compact. We give the proof in the Carathéodory case for completeness.
Hence we have . Moreover, the map is compact since it is a sum of two compact maps: the compactness of is well known, and since , and are continuous, the perturbation maps bounded sets into bounded subsets of a 1-dimensional space.
The proofs of the following results can be immediately deduced from the analogous results in , where the proofs involve a careful analysis of fixed point index and utilize order-preserving matrices. The only difference here is that we allow nonlinearity to be Carathéodory instead of continuous. The lines of proof are not effected and therefore the proofs are omitted.
The two lemmas above lead to the following result on existence of one or two positive solutions for the integral equation (2.20). Note that, if the nonlinearity has a suitable oscillatory behavior, it is possible to state, with the same arguments as in , a theorem on the existence of more than two positive solutions.
with the BCs (1.4)–(1.6).
We seek the "optimal" for which is a minimum. This type of problems has been tackled in the past, for example, in the second-order case for heat-flow problems in  and for beam equations (under different BCs) in [9, 12, 13].
These results are new and improve and complement the previous ones. Gupta  and Yao  studied the problem with more general nonlinearity but established existence results only. Davies and co-authors  and Graef and Henderson  obtain the existence of multiple positive solutions for a -order differential equation subject to our boundary conditions in the case . In  the choice gives the values and which replace our constants and in the growth conditions of . The growth conditions of the nonlinearity in Theorem in  cannot be compared with ours, but we do not require the restriction .
and conditions (2.34) and (2.33) read and . Since holds, from Theorem 2.4 it follows that this BVP has a nontrivial solution in . A nonlinearity that easily verifies , for example, is the function for every and every .
We now give an example with continuously distributed positive measures.
As in , where a different set of BCs were investigated, we point out that these nonlocal boundary conditions can be interpreted as feedback controls: for example, the BCs (4.1) can be seen as a control on the displacement at the left end and a device handling the shear force at .
The author would like to thank professor Salvatore Lopez of the Faculty of Engineering, University of Calabria, for shedding some light on the physical interpretation of this problem. The author wishes to thank the anonymous referees for their constructive comments.
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