We consider the propagation of weakly nonlinear, weakly dispersive waves in an inhomogeneous media within the framework of the variable-coefficient Korteweg-de Vries equation. An analytical formula with which to compute the energy transfer between neighboring solitary waves is derived. The resulting expression shows that the energy change in a variable KdV system is essentially due the two-wave mixing, contrary to the energy change in a nonlinear Schrödinger system, which results from the intrachannel four-wave mixing. By considering the case of Gaussian solitary wave solutions, we have determined the transfer of energy in the system analytically and numerically. © 2007 IMACS.
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