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  • Interfaces, complex structures, and singular limits in continuum mechanics

    (Third Party Funds Group – Overall project)

    Term: 01-04-2018 - 30-09-2022
    Funding source: DFG / Graduiertenkolleg (GRK)
  • MPFA and MHFE methods for flow and transport in porous media

    (Third Party Funds Single)

    Term: 01-01-2012 - 31-12-2013
    Funding source: Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD)

    Nonlinear (multiphase) flow and reactive multicomponent transport problems in highly heterogeneous porous media and their numerical simulation are of great interest for evaluating site remediation, energy exploitation or CO2 sequestration scenarios.   The resulting advection-diffusion-reaction-systems are coupled nonlinear parabolic partial differential equations, and we have parabolic or elliptic nonlinear flow equations, possibly degenerate. The development of convergent and efficient numerical schemes is very challenging and the mixed (hybrid) finite element method M(H)FEM and the multipoint flux approximation MPFA are powerful locally mass conservative choices. They offer also the advantage of continuous flux approximations over the element faces.  Analogies between the two techniques should help to prove order of convergence estimates and monotonicity for the multicomponent transport problems, but also for multiphase flow.  Furthermore numerical diffusion of the schemes should be quantified to assess the accuracy of the methods.  Simulation examples should include realistic scenarios on heterogeneous, log normally distributed random parameter fields.

  • Development of filtration systems for air cleaning from nanoparticles, organic admixtures and bacteria with the help of numerical simulations

    (Third Party Funds Single)

    Term: 01-10-2009 - 30-09-2011
    Funding source: Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF)

    The project was a cooperation of a group of applied mathematicians with the Russian company Aeroservice for the development and optimization of new photocatalytic filter systems for air cleaning of nanoparticles and organic substances with the help of mathematical simulation tools. For the simulation of aerosol transport in the filter made of polypropylene fibers, which is used in hospitals or airports, e.g., mathematical models and efficient solution algorithms had to be developed. These allow on the one hand to take stochastic components into account, as the heterogeneous conductivity distribution in the filter. On the other hand these methods were coupled with highly accurate computation schemes as mixed finite element methods, which guarantee local mass conservation for the transport processes. The design parameters of real experiments can be optimized with the help of such simulation tools and their sensitivity with respect to filter efficiency analysed. Among the used methods are particle filtration in porous media, based on the Darcy equation, and coupled Eulerian and Lagrangeian simulation of transport processes, including Monte Carlo approaches with given filter geometries.

  • Efficient Numerical Methods for Large Partial Differential Complementarity Systems arising in Multispecies Reactive Transport with Minerals in Porous Media

    (Third Party Funds Single)

    Term: 01-01-2007 - 31-12-2011
    Funding source: DFG-Einzelförderung / Sachbeihilfe (EIN-SBH)
    The project focuses on the accurate and efficient numerical treatment of time-dependent reactive transport problems with many species (in porous media) in 2 or 3 space dimensions with local complementarity conditions as essential ingredient. The problem takes the form of a differential algebraic set of equations and complementarity constraints, consisting of time dependent (possibly convection-dominated) semilinear partial differential equations (PDEs), nonlinear ordinary differential equations, nonlinear algebraic equalities, and inequalities. Taking a typical species number of 10 to 20 and of nodal degrees of freedom of 104 to 106, also for an appropriate (e.g., local mass conservative) discretization, the solution of the emerging finite dimensional complementarity system is a formidable task, whose efficient algorithmic treatment is the main topic of the project. Algorithms of semismooth Newton type are the principal choice. Aims are the investigation and improvement of the algorithms w.r.t. efficiency and robustness, and comparing them to other (e.g., interiorpoint-) methods. The algorithms to be developed are supposed to heavily take advantage of knowledge about the substructuring of the problem. The emerging methods and software, also for parallel computers, is supposed to handle several large real world problems, not yet treatable satisfactorily.
  • The Influence of Colloids on Water Flow and Solute Transport in Soils: Side Effect or Key Process?

    (Third Party Funds Single)

    Term: 01-11-2006 - 31-12-2009
    Funding source: DFG-Einzelförderung / Sachbeihilfe (EIN-SBH)

    Soil colloids may influence the interaction between solutes and the immobile solid phase. A coupling to the fluid transport is possible by processes of sedimentation, flocculation, precipitation, filtration and deposition. The objective of this research project is the qualitative and quantitative examination of the crucial aspects of colloidal-influenced solute- and fluid transport by means of systematic, prognostic simulation. In detail,

    1. the attachment and detachment of colloids under consideration air-water interface of the soil,
    2. the transformation of the pore space and the thus induced coupling to the fluid transport in soil, and
    3. the transformation of the surface properties of the solid phase and the thus induced coupling to the solute transport

    have to be analyzed. The main hypothesis of this project states that the couplings incorporated in the model conception affect the praxis-relevant situations not only qualitatively, but also quantitatively in a significant way. The deterministic description of the physicochemical mechanisms on basis of the conservation laws for mass, impulse and energy results in systems of time-dependent non-linear partial differential equations. In order to make the model operative with respect to the problem formulation, one has to approximate it via numerical methods and to implement those in a software tool. For each level of complexity which has to be achieved, a comparison with existing experimental data has to be accomplished. In particular, these datasets have is to be used to obtain a realistic parametrization of the model via inverse modelling.

  • Identifizierung nichtlinearer Koeffizientenfunktionen des reaktiven Transports durch poröse Medien unter Verwendung rekursiver und formfreier Ansätze

    (Third Party Funds Group – Sub project)

    Overall project: Identifikation, Optimierung und Steuerung für technische Anwendungen
    Term: 01-06-2006 - 30-04-2010
    Funding source: Bayerisches Staatsministerium für Bildung und Kultus, Wissenschaft und Kunst (ab 10/2013)

    In dem Internationalen Doktorandenkolleg wird vor dem Hintergrund konkreter Anwendungsprobleme der Bogen von der mathematischen Modellierung über die mathematische Analyse und die Entwicklung numerischer Methoden bis hin zum Wissenschaftlichen Rechnen und der Implementierung von Software auf Hoch- und Höchstleistungsrechnern gespannt. Dies geschieht auf den Gebieten der Identifikation, Optimierung und Steuerung komplexer technischer, medizinischer, naturwissenschaftlicher und wirtschaftswissenschaftlicher Systeme.

    Identifikation, Optimierung und Steuerung haben eine große Bedeutung für die technologische Entwicklung. Die Fokussierung auf dieses Gebiet ist deshalb das besondere Merkmal dieses mathematisch orientierten Netzwerkes. Im nordbayerischen Raum bieten sich wegen der dort gegebenen Konzentration international anerkannter Wissenschaftler in diesem Forschungsumfeld die besten Voraussetzungen. Das Ziel des Doktorandenkollegs ist es, den Schritt von der modellbasierten Simulation zum modellgestützten optimalen Design und Steuerung zu vollziehen. Dieser Schritt wird erst durch die Verzahnung der rasanten Entwicklung mathematischer Methoden der Optimierung und der Numerik und mit Hilfe von Hochleistungsrechnern möglich.

    Eine stärkere Einbindung von Ingenieurprojekten in der zweiten Phase des Kollegs wird die Integration der erarbeiteten Konzepte und Algorithmen in konkrete Anwendungsbereiche ermöglichen. Darüber hinaus lassen spezifische Betreuungs- und Lehrkonzepte die fachübergreifende Zusammenarbeit fruchtbar werden.

  • Modelling of the reactive transport of contaminants in the (un-)saturated zone for the prognosis of natural attenuation

    (Third Party Funds Group – Sub project)

    Overall project: Kontrollierter natürlicher Rückhalt und Abbau von Schadstoffen bei der Sanierung kontaminierter Böden und Grundwässer (BMBF Förderschwerpunkt KORA)
    Term: 01-04-2004 - 31-12-2008
    Funding source: BMBF / Verbundprojekt

    The evaluation of the potential of contaminated sites concerning natural attenuation needs comprehensive process descriptions and accurate, reliable numerical algorithms. Numerical errors may lead to qualitatively completely wrong conclusions concerning the potential of the site for degradation. It has been developed a comprehensive and flexible simulation tool, that is outstanding concerning the variety of processes, the quality and efficiency of the calculations ensured by modern numerical methods as well as the usability. The existing software platform RICHY has been extended, which is already intensely and successfully used by universities, institutes and consultants for the simulation of reactive transport and parameter identification. Among previous modules for coupled sufactant transport, preferential, unsaturated flow or carrier facilitated transport the project could realize new model components that surpass most of all existing software packages. The extensions contain complete descriptions of microbially catalysed degradation with arbitrary reaction partners and inhibition, general multicomponent reactions including the effects of ionic strength, as well as mineral dissolution and precipitation. The efficient and highly accurate, newly developed mathematical solution algorithms for the resulting coupled systems of partial differential equations could show their quality in complex international benchmark studies. Locally mass conserving, mixed hybrid finite element discretisations of the flow problem have been combined with globally implicit, reactive multicomponent models. Novel reduction methods for the latter rely on the linear transformation of the equation systems and variables and lead to the consideration of conservation quantities which can be handled efficiently, as a part of the transport – reaction – equations decouples. Another approach that has been pursued simultaneously relies on a modified Newton method and results in efficiency enhancements by the neglection of coupling terms in the Jacobian matrix. This algorithm can be applied fully adaptively, in 1D as well as in 2D. Both approaches could be combined with adaptive techniques for the automatic, efficient choice of time steps and spatial grid sizes, which makes the calculation of these complex problems feasible on PCs.

  • Development of a simulation tool for the prognosis of the spreading and the degradation of contaminants in the saturated and vadose zone

    (Third Party Funds Group – Sub project)

    Overall project: Nachhaltige Altlastenbewältigung unter Einbeziehung des natürlichen Reinigungsvermögens
    Term: 01-06-2001 - 31-05-2003
    Funding source: Bayerisches Staatsministerium für Umwelt und Gesundheit (StMUG) (bis 09/2013)

    The project included the mathematical modelling of natural attenuation processes in the subsurface and the extension of a software tool for complex reactive multicomponent processes in the framework of mixed hybrid and conforming finite elements. New  parameter identification methods allow the parametrization of unknown functions or a formfree optimization, and help to overcome the dilemma of missing data in complex models. Work included instationary 3D simulations and scenarios of  contaminated sites explored by project partners. The findings of the joint research project resulted in guidelines for authorities and consulting engineers dealing with natural attenuation at contaminated sites.

  • Quantification of Contaminant Sources and Transport Prognosis in Aquifers

    (Third Party Funds Group – Sub project)

    Overall project: BMBF Förderschwerpunkt Sickerwasserprognose
    Term: 01-01-2001 - 31-12-2004
    Funding source: Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF)

    Mathematical simulation tools allow the quantitative integration of competing transport and transformation processes which are relevant for a seepage water risk prognosis. Therefore model simulations have to contain a comprehensive process description, while they can serve for parameter identification by inverse modelling of suitable column or batch experiments, and allow to quantify the dependence of a key variable on parameters through a simultaneous sensitivity analysis. The software platform RICHY1D has been extended and is already intensively and successfully used in universities, institutes and by consultants for the 1D simulation of complex reactive transport and for parameter identification. It stands out by the application of efficient and highly accurate mathematical solution strategies for the resulting systems of partial differential equations (e.g. locally mass conserving mixed hybrid finite element discretisations, modified Newton’s method). Besides the formerly existing modules for coupled surfactant-water transport, multiphase flow, saturated-unsaturated flow or carrier facilitated transport, the extensions contain in particular source terms (boundary conditions, distributed sources, arbitrarily time dependent, nonlinear and multiple (de-)sorption kinetics, mobilisation from a residual NAPL phase), preferential flow with solute transport, and heat transport in soils with coupling to reaction parameters of the contaminant transport like Monod degradation parameters, e.g.. The parameter identification is possible for the model extensions as well, which allows the identification of multiple complex parametrizations from suitable experiments (for example for source terms or microbially mediated degradation, sorption characteristics and hydraulic parameters). There is no need to impose a certain functional shape of these nonlinearities, the so-called form-free identification is also feasible, and furthermore a closed-flow experiment design can be accounted for. The sensitivity analysis is provided separately for the evaluation of the dependence of a key variable like the concentration of arbitrary model parameters, what represents a powerful tool in a transport simulation to identify controlling factors and evaluate uncertainties of the data.


Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg