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We consider models based on conservation laws. For the optimization of such systems, a sensitivity analysis is essential to determine how changes in the decision variables influence the objective function. Here we study the sensitivity with respect to the initial data of objective functions that depend upon the solution of Riemann problems with piecewise linear flux functions. We present representations for the one–sided directional derivatives of the objective functions. The results can be used in the numerical method called Front-Tracking.

We consider the flow of gas through pipelines controlled by a compressor station. Under a subsonic flow assumption we prove the existence of classical solutions for a given finite time interval. The existence result is used to construct Riemannian feedback laws and to prove a stabilization result for a coupled system of gas pipes with a compressor station. We introduce a Lyapunov function and prove exponential decay with respect to the L2-norm.