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.

We present a particle method for the numerical simulation of boundary value problems for the steady-state Boltzmann equation. Referring to some recent results concerning steady-state schemes, the current approach may be used for multi-dimensional problems, where the collision scattering kernel is not restricted to Maxwellian molecules. The efficiency of the new approach is demonstrated by some numerical results obtained from simulations for the (two-dimensional) BEnard's instability in a rarefied gas flow.