We develop a finite element method for convection diffusion problems on a given time dependent surface, for instance modeling the evolution of a surfactant. The method is based on a characteristic-Galerkin formulation combined with a piecewise linear cut finite element method in space. The cut finite element method is constructed by embedding the surface in a background grid and then using the restriction to the surface of a finite element space defined on the background grid. The surface is allowed to cut through the background grid in an arbitrary fashion. To ensure well posedness of the resulting algebraic systems of equations, independent of the position of the surface in the background grid, we add a consistent stabilization term. We prove error estimates and present confirming numerical results.
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