A generalized Stefan model accounting for system memory and non-locality

R. Garra, F. Falcini, V. R. Voller, G. Pagnini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The Stefan problem, involving the tracking of an evolving phase-change front, is the prototypical example of a moving boundary problem. In basic one-dimensional problems it is well known that the front advances as the square root of time. When memory or non-locality are introduced into the system, however, this classic signal may be anomalous; replaced by a power-law advance with a time exponent that differs from n = 1/2. Up to now memory treatments in Stefan problem models have only been able to reproduce sub-diffusive front movements with exponents n < 1/2 and non-local treatments have only been able to reproduce super-diffusive behavior n > 1/2. In the present paper, by using a generalized Caputo fractional derivative operator, we introduce new memory and non-local treatment for Stefan problems. On considering a limit case Stefan problem, related to the melting problem, we are able to show that, this general treatment can not only produce arbitrary power-law in time predictions for the front movement but, in the case of memory treatments, can also produce non-power-law anomalous behaviors. Further, also in the context of the limit problem, we are able to establish an equivalence between non-locality and a space varying conductivity and memory and a time varying conductivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104584
JournalInternational Communications in Heat and Mass Transfer
StatePublished - May 2020


  • Anomalous diffusion
  • Fractional moving boundary problems
  • Melting processes
  • Stefan problems

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