The method of fractional steps for conservation laws

Michael Crandall, Andrew Majda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The stability, accuracy, and convergence of the basic fractional step algorithms are analyzed when these algorithms are used to compute discontinuous solutions of scalar conservation laws. In particular, it is proved that both first order splitting and Strang splitting algorithms always converge to the unique weak solution satisfying the entropy condition. Examples of discontinuous solutions are presented where both Strang-type splitting algorithms are only first order accurate but one of the standard first order algorithms is infinite order accurate. Various aspects of the accuracy, convergence, and correct entropy production are also studied when each split step is discretized via monotone schemes, Lax-Wendroff schemes, and the Glimm scheme.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)285-314
Number of pages30
JournalNumerische Mathematik
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1980


  • Subject Classifications: AMS(MOS): 65M10, 65M05, 35L65

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics


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