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The thermostat problem with a nonlocal nonlinear boundary condition

Kalna, G. and McKee, S. (2004) The thermostat problem with a nonlocal nonlinear boundary condition. IMA Journal of Applied Mathematics, 69 (5). pp. 437-462. ISSN 0272-4960

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The thermostat controller for an air-conditioning system is usually placed in a position at some distance from the unit and this can lead to large swings in temperature. This paper addresses this question by studying a paradigm - a one-dimensional heat conduction equation with and without heat loss, and where the flux of heat extracted or input by the unit is considered to be a function of the temperature at the other end. The essential results are that the system can be unstable and that this is exacerbated both by a more powerful air-conditioning unit and by more efficient insulation.