Metriplectic Integrators for the Landau Collision Operator

We present a novel framework for addressing the nonlinear Landau collision integral in terms of finite-element and other subspace projection methods. We employ the underlying metriplectic structure of the Landau collision integral and, using a finite-element discretization for the velocity space, we transform the infinite-dimensional system into a finite-dimensional, time-continuous metriplectic system. Temporal discretization is accomplished using the concept of discrete gradients. The conservation of energy, momentum, and particle densities, as well as the monotonic behaviour of entropy is demonstrated algebraically for the fully discrete system. Due to the generality of our approach, the conservation properties and the entropy dissipation are guaranteed for finite-element discretizations in general, independently of the mesh configuration.