I am looking for a counterexample of Sobolev Embedding Theorem, i.e. I am seeking for a sobolev function $u\in W_0^{1,p}(\Omega),\,p\in[1,n)$, $\Omega$ is a bounded domain in $\mathbb{R}^n$ such that the inequality: $||u||_{L^q}\leq C||\nabla u||_{L^p}$ does not hold, where $q>p^*:=\frac{np}{n-p}$. A similar question was asked in the past, but with $\mathbb{R}^n$ as a domain and the space used was $W^{1,p}(\Omega)$, see link

  • $\begingroup$ You can use the exact same example in that question (suppose $0\in \Omega$), just use a mollifier to cut if off from $\Omega$, the singularity is near $0$. $\endgroup$
    – Shuhao Cao
    Commented Mar 2, 2016 at 23:00

1 Answer 1


You don't need any special function to reach this conclusion.

Any domain contains a ball; so it's enough to consider a ball, which may as well be centered at $0$. Take any function $f$ with nonzero $L^q$ norm supported in this ball. Consider the sequence $f_k(x)=f(kx)$ and use the change of variables $y=kx$ to show that $$ \|f_k\|_{L^q} = k^{-n/q} \|f\|_{L^q},\quad \|\nabla f_k\|_{L^p} = k^{1-n/p} \|f\|_{L^p} $$ The conclusion follows since $-\frac{n}{q} > 1-\frac{n}{p}$.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, @Sally! This really helps! Shouldn't it be $\|f_k\|_{L^q} = k^{-n/q} \|f\|_{L^q},\quad \|\nabla f_k\|_{L^p} = k^{1-n/p} \|f\|_{L^p}$ (And the conclusion follows since $-\frac{n}{q} >1 -\frac{n}{p}$)? $\endgroup$
    – user315279
    Commented Mar 6, 2016 at 10:04
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, I corrected this. $\endgroup$
    – user147263
    Commented Mar 6, 2016 at 16:11
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks again, @Sally. One more question - why is it necessary to work in a ball? Can't I just take a function $f\in\Omega$ with the same procedure? $\endgroup$
    – user315279
    Commented Mar 7, 2016 at 8:00
  • $\begingroup$ If $\Omega$ is not star-shaped about $0$, the support of the function $f(kx)$ might fall outside of the domain. $\endgroup$
    – user147263
    Commented Mar 7, 2016 at 12:03

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