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Mathematical models are important tools for addressing problems that exceed experimental capabilities. In this work, I present ordinary and partial differential equation (ODE, PDE) models for two problems: Vicodin abuse

Mathematical models are important tools for addressing problems that exceed experimental capabilities. In this work, I present ordinary and partial differential equation (ODE, PDE) models for two problems: Vicodin abuse and impact cratering.

The prescription opioid Vicodin is the nation's most widely prescribed pain reliever. The majority of Vicodin abusers are first introduced via prescription, distinguishing it from other drugs in which the most common path to abuse begins with experimentation. I develop and analyze two mathematical models of Vicodin use and abuse, considering only those patients with an initial Vicodin prescription. Through adjoint sensitivity analysis, I show that focusing efforts on prevention rather than treatment has greater success at reducing the total population of abusers. I prove that solutions to each model exist, are unique, and are non-negative. I also derive conditions for which these solutions are asymptotically stable.

Verification and Validation (V&V) are necessary processes to ensure accuracy of computational methods. Simulations are essential for addressing impact cratering problems, because these problems often exceed experimental capabilities. I show that the Free Lagrange (FLAG) hydrocode, developed and maintained by Los Alamos National Laboratory, can be used for impact cratering simulations by verifying FLAG against two analytical models of aluminum-on-aluminum impacts at different impact velocities and validating FLAG against a glass-into-water laboratory impact experiment. My verification results show good agreement with the theoretical maximum pressures, and my mesh resolution study shows that FLAG converges at resolutions low enough to reduce the required computation time from about 28 hours to about 25 minutes.

Asteroid 16 Psyche is the largest M-type (metallic) asteroid in the Main Asteroid Belt. Radar albedo data indicate Psyche's surface is rich in metallic content, but estimates for Psyche's composition vary widely. Psyche has two large impact structures in its Southern hemisphere, with estimated diameters from 50 km to 70 km and estimated depths up to 6.4 km. I use the FLAG hydrocode to model the formation of the largest of these impact structures. My results indicate an oblique angle of impact rather than a vertical impact. These results also support previous claims that Psyche is metallic and porous.

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by Wendy K. Caldwell

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