Runge-Kutta Discontinuous Galerkin method for the Boltzmann equation
Author(s)Lui, Ho Man
RKDG method for the Boltzmann equation
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Computation for Design and Optimization Program.
Nicholas G. Hadjiconstantinou.
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In this thesis we investigate the ability of the Runge-Kutta Discontinuous Galerkin (RKDG) method to provide accurate and efficient solutions of the Boltzmann equation. Solutions of the Boltzmann equation are desirable in connection to small scale science and technology because when characteristic flow length scales become of the order of, or smaller than, the molecular mean free path, the Navier-Stokes description fails. The prevalent Boltzmann solution method is a stochastic particle simulation scheme known as Direct Simulation Monte Carlo (DSMC). Unfortunately, DSMC is not very effective in low speed flows (typical of small scale devices of interest) because of the high statistical uncertainty associated with the statistical sampling of macroscopic quantities employed by this method. This work complements the recent development of an efficient low noise method for calculating the collision integral of the Boltzmann equation, by providing a high-order discretization method for the advection operator balancing the collision integral in the Boltzmann equation. One of the most attractive features of the RKDG method is its ability to combine high-order accuracy, both in physical space and time, with the ability to capture discontinuous solutions.(cont.) The validity of this claim is thoroughly investigated in this thesis. It is shown that, for a model collisionless Boltzmann equation, high-order accuracy can be achieved for continuous solutions; whereas for discontinuous solutions, the RKDG method, with or without the application of a slope limiter such as a viscosity limiter, displays high-order accuracy away from the vicinity of the discontinuity. Given these results, we developed a RKDG solution method for the Boltzmann equation by formulating the collision integral as a source term in the advection equation. Solutions of the Boltzmann equation, in the form of mean velocity and shear stress, are obtained for a number of characteristic flow length scales and compared to DSMC solutions. With a small number of elements and a low order of approximation in physical space, the RKDG method achieves similar results to the DSMC method. When the characteristic flow length scale is small compared to the mean free path (i.e. when the effect of collisions is small), oscillations are present in the mean velocity and shear stress profiles when a coarse velocity space discretization is used. With a finer velocity space discretization, the oscillations are reduced, but the method becomes approximately five times more computationally expensive.(cont.) We show that these oscillations (due to the presence of propagating discontinuities in the distribution function) can be removed using a viscosity limiter at significantly smaller computational cost.
Thesis (S.M.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Computation for Design and Optimization Program, 2006.Includes bibliographical references (p. 85-87).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Computation for Design and Optimization Program.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Computation for Design and Optimization Program.