Communications in Mathematical Physics

, Volume 363, Issue 1, pp 111–137 | Cite as

Long-Time Asymptotics for Polymerization Models

  • Juan Calvo
  • Marie DoumicEmail author
  • Benoît Perthame


This study is devoted to the long-term behavior of nucleation, growth and fragmentation equations, modeling the spontaneous formation and kinetics of large polymers in a spatially homogeneous and closed environment. Such models are, for instance, commonly used in the biophysical community in order to model in vitro experiments of fibrillation. We investigate the interplay between four processes: nucleation, polymerization, depolymerization and fragmentation. We first revisit the well-known Lifshitz–Slyozov model, which takes into account only polymerization and depolymerization, and we show that, when nucleation is included, the system goes to a trivial equilibrium: all polymers fragmentize, going back to very small polymers. Taking into account only polymerization and fragmentation, modeled by the classical growth-fragmentation equation, also leads the system to the same trivial equilibrium, whether or not nucleation is considered. Finally, when taking into account a depolymerization reaction term, we prove the existence of a steady size-distribution of polymers, as soon as polymerization dominates depolymerization for large sizes whereas depolymerization dominates polymerization for smaller ones—a case which fits the classical assumptions for the Lifshitz–Slyozov equations, but complemented with fragmentation so that “Ostwald ripening” does not happen.


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Marie Doumic was supported and Juan Calvo was partially supported by the ERC Starting Grant SKIPPERAD (Number 306321). Juan Calvo also acknowledges support from ``Plan Propio de Investigación, programa 9'' (funded by Universidad de Granada and european FEDER funds), Projects MTM2014-53406-R, MTM2015-71509-C2-1-R (funded by MINECO and european FEDER funds) and Project P12-FQM-954 (funded by Junta de Andalucía). Benoît Perthame was supported by the ERC Advanced Grant Adora (740623). We thank Romain Yvinec and Wei-Feng Xue for inspiring discussions.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Matemática Aplicada and Excellence Research Unit “Modeling Nature” (MNat)Universidad de GranadaGranadaSpain
  2. 2.Sorbonne Université, Inria, Université Paris-Diderot, CNRS, Laboratoire Jacques-Louis LionsParisFrance

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