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We present a numerical scheme to simulate a moving rigid body with arbitrary shape suspended in a rarefied gas micro flows, in view of applications to complex computations of moving structures in micro or vacuum systems. The rarefied gas is simulated by solving the Boltzmann equation using a DSMC particle method. The motion of the rigid body is governed by the Newton-Euler equations, where the force and the torque on the rigid body is computed from the momentum transfer of the gas molecules colliding with the body. The resulting motion of the rigid body affects in turn again the gas flow in the surroundings. This means that a two-way coupling has been modeled. We validate the scheme by performing various numerical experiments in 1-, 2- and 3-dimensional computational domains. We have presented 1-dimensional actuator problem, 2-dimensional cavity driven flow problem, Brownian diffusion of a spherical particle both with translational and rotational motions, and finally thermophoresis on a spherical particles. We compare the numerical results obtained from the numerical simulations with the existing theories in each test examples.

Particle methods to simulate rarefied gas flows have found an increasing interest in Computational Fluid Dynamics during the last decade, see for example [1], [2], [3] and [4]. The general goal is to develop numerical schemes which are reliable enough to substitute real windtunnel experiments, needed for example in space research, by computer experiments. In order to achieve this goal one needs numerical methods solving the Boltzmann equation including all important physical effects. In general this means 3D computations for a chemically reacting rarefied gas. With codes of this kind at hand, Boltzmann simulation becomes a powerful tool in studying rarefied gas phenomena.

The paper presents some approximation methods for the Boltzmann equation. In the first part fully implicit discretization techniques for the spatially homogeneous Boltzmann equation are investigated. The implicit equation is solved using an iteration process. It is shown that the iteration converges to the correct solution for the moments of the distribution function as long as the mass conservation is strictly fulfilled. For a simple model Boltzmann equation some unexpected features of the implicit scheme and the corresponding iteration process are clarified. In the second part a new iteration algorithm is proposed which should be used for the stationary Boltzmann equation. The realization of the method is very similar to the standard splitting algorithms except some new stochastic elements.

Second Order Scheme for the Spatially Homogeneous Boltzmann Equation with Maxwellian Molecules
(1995)

In the standard approach, particle methods for the Boltzmann equation are obtained using an explicit time discretization of the spatially homogeneous Boltzmann equation. This kind of discretization leads to a restriction of the discretization parameter as well as on the differential cross section in the case of the general Boltzmann equation. Recently, it was shown, how to construct an implicit particle scheme for the Boltzmann equation with Maxwellian molecules. The present paper combines both approaches using a linear combination of explicit and implicit discretizations. It is shown that the new method leads to a second order particle method, when using an equiweighting of explicit and implicit discretization.

Numerical Simulation of the Stationary One-Dimensional Boltzmann Equation by Particle Methods
(1995)

The paper presents a numerical simulation technique - based on the well-known particle methods - for the stationary, one-dimensional Boltzmann equation for Maxwellian molecules. In contrast to the standard splitting methods, where one works with the instationary equation, the current approach simulates the direct solution of the stationary problem. The model problem investigated is the heat transfer between two parallel plates in the rarefied gas regime. An iteration process is introduced which leads to the stationary solution of the exact - space discretized - Boltzmann equation, in the sense of weak convergence.

The paper presents numerical results on the simulation of boundary value problems for the Boltzmann equation in one and two dimensions. In the one-dimensional case, we use prescribed fluxes at the left and diffusive conditions on the right end of a slab to study the resulting steady state solution. Moreover, we compute the numerical density function in velocity space and compare the result with the Chapman-Enskog distribution obtained in the limit for continuous media. The aim of the two-dimensional simulations is to investigate the possibility of a symmetry break in the numerical solution.

In the present paper we investigate the Rayleigh-Benard convection in rarefied gases and demonstrate by numerical experiments the transition from purely thermal conduction to a natural convective flow for a large range of Knudsen numbers from 0.02 downto 0.001. We address to the problem how the critical value for the Rayleigh number defined for incompressible vsicous flows may be translated to rarefied gas flows. Moreover, the simulations obtained for a Knudsen number Kn=0.001 and Froude number Fr=1 show a further transition from regular Rayleigh-Benard cells to a pure unsteady behavious with moving vortices.

The paper presents some new estimates on the gain term of the Boltzmann collision operator. For Maxwellian molecules, it is shown that the L -norm of the gain term can be bounded in terms of the L1 and L -norm of the density function f. In the case of more general collision kernels, like the hard-sphere interaction potential, the gain term is estimated pointwise by the L -norm of the density function and the loss term of the Boltzmann collision operator.