Many important phenomena and dynamic processes in physics, applied mathematics and engineering can be described by higher-dimensional extensions of the Korteweg–de Vries (KdV) equation. Zakharov and Kuznetsov successfully proposed one such model . The Zakharov–Kuznetsov (ZK) equation given by:
It is of great importance to search for exact solutions of nonlinear partial differential equations (NPDEs), such as the gZK equation, because many physical phenomena are described by NPDEs. Although there is no unique method for finding exact solutions of NLPEs, a great deal of research work has been devoted to developing different methods to solve NLPEs. Some of the methods found in the literature include the inverse scattering transform method , Darboux transformation , Hirota’s bilinear method , Bäcklund transformation , the multiple exp-function method , the (G′/G)-expansion method , the sine-cosine method , the F -expansion method , the exp-function expansion method  and the Lie symmetry method [18,19].
There is no doubt that in the study of differential equations, conservation laws play an important role. In fact, conservation laws describe physical conserved quantities, such as mass, energy, momentum and angular momentum, as well as charge and other constants of motion [20,21]. They have been used in investigating the existence, uniqueness and stability of solutions of nonlinear partial differential equations [22–24]. Furthermore, they have been used in the development and use of numerical methods [25,26]. Recently, conservation laws were used to obtain exact solutions of some partial differential equations [27–31]. Thus, it is essential to study the conservation laws of partial differential equations.
The paper is organized as follows: In Section 2, we derive conservation laws of (2) by employing the new conservation law theorem by Ibragimov . In Section 3, we obtain exact solutions of (2) using Lie symmetry analysis and the simplest equation method [33–35]. Finally, concluding remarks are presented in Section 4.
2. Conservation Laws
In this section, the new conservation theorem by Ibragimov  will be used to construct conservation laws for (2). To use the conservation theorem by Ibragimov , we need to know the Lie point symmetries of (2). Thus, we first compute the symmetries of (2).
2.1. Lie Point Symmetries of (2)
The vector field:
Solving the above system of partial differential equations, one obtains the following four Lie point symmetries:
2.2. Application of the New Conservation Theorem
The gZK equation together with its adjoint equation are given by:
We have the following four cases:
We first consider the Lie point symmetry X1 = ∂t of (2). Corresponding to this symmetry, the Lie characteristic functions are W1 = −ut. and W2 = −vt. Thus, by using the Ibragimov theorem , the components of the conserved vector associated with the symmetry X1 = ∂t are given by:
Likewise, the Lie point symmetry X2 = ∂x has the Lie characteristic functions W1 = −ux and W2 = −vx. Invoking Ibragimov’s theorem, we obtain the conserved vector, whose components are:
The Lie point symmetry X3 = ∂y has the Lie characteristic functions W1 = −u and W2 = −vy, and using Ibragimov’s theorem, the components of the conserved vector are:
Finally, the Lie point symmetry X4 = 3nt∂t + nx∂x + ny∂y − 2u∂u gives W1 = −(2u + 3ntut + nxux + nyuy) and W2 = (2 − 2n)v − 3ntvt − nxvx − nyvy, and so, the associated conserved vector has components:
3. Exact Solutions
In this section, we obtain exact solutions of (2) using firstly its Lie point symmetries and, secondly, by employing the simplest equation method.
3.1. Exact Solutions of (2) Using Its Lie Point Symmetries
First of all, we utilize the linear combination of the three translation symmetries, namely X = X1 + νX2 + X3, and reduce the gZK Equation (2) to a PDE in two independent variables. The associated Lagrange system is:
By considering θ as the new dependent variable and f and g as new independent variables, the gZK Equation (2) transforms to:
The combination Γ1 + kΓ2, of the two symmetries Γ1 and Γ2, for an arbitrary constant k, yields the two invariants:
The integration of (8) yields
3.2. Exact Solutions of (2) Using the Simplest Equation Method
The solution of Bernoulli Equation (12) we use here is given by:
3.2.1. Solutions of (2) Using the Bernoulli Equation as the Simplest Equation
n = 1
In this case, the balancing procedure yields M = 2 and solutions of (8) are of the form:
We insert this value of W (z) in (8). Then, using the Bernoulli Equation (12) and, thereafter, equating the coefficients of powers of Gi to zero, we obtain an algebraic system of five equations in terms of A0, A1, A2, namely:
With the aid of Maple, we solve the above system and obtain:
Therefore, the solution of (2), for n = 1 is given by:
n = 2
The balancing procedure yields M = 1, so the solutions of (8) take the form:
Therefore, the solutions of (2) for n = 2 are given by:
3.2.2. Solutions of (2) Using the Riccati Equation as the Simplest Equation
n = 1
For this case, the balancing procedure gives M = 2, and so, (14) becomes:
The solution of the above system using Maple gives:
Consequently, the solutions of (2) are:
n = 2
The balancing procedure yields M = 1, so the solutions of (8) are of the form:
Solving the above algebraic equations, one obtains:
Hence, we have the following solutions of (2) for n = 2:
4. Concluding Remarks
In this paper, we studied the generalized Zakharov–Kuznetsov Equation (2). We derived the conservation laws of this equation by using the new conservation theorem by Ibragimov. Moreover, the Lie point symmetries of (2) were obtained and were used in conjunction with the simplest equation method to obtain exact solutions of the generalized Zakharov–Kuznetsov equation. The solutions obtained here are new and more general than the ones obtained before in  and . Furthermore, the importance of the conservation laws has been emphasized in the Introduction.
D.M.M. would like to thank the FRC of Faculty of Agriculture, Science and Technology, North-West University, Mafikeng Campus, and NRF of South Africa for their financial support. D.M.M. and C.M.K. thank Tanki Motsepa for helpful discussions.
D.M.M. and C.M.K. worked together in the derivation of the mathematical results. Both authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Conflicts of Interest
The authors declare no conflict of interest.
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