Numerical simulation of rarefied gas flow in micro and vacuum devices




Rana, Anirudh Singh

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It is well established that non-equilibrium flows cannot properly be described by traditional hydrodynamics, namely, the Navier-Stokes-Fourier (NSF) equations. Such flows occur, for example, in micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS), and ultra vacuum systems, where the dimensions of the devices are comparable to the mean free path of a gas molecule. Therefore, the study of non-equilibrium effects in gas flows is extremely important. The general interest of the present study is to explore boundary value problems for moderately rarefied gas flows, with an emphasis on numerical solutions of the regularized 13--moment equations (R13). Boundary conditions for the moment equations are derived based on either phenomenological principles or on microscopic gas-surface scattering models, e.g., Maxwell's accommodation model and the isotropic scattering model. Using asymptotic analysis, several non-linear terms in the R13 equations are transformed into algebraic terms. The reduced equations allow us to obtain numerical solutions for multidimensional boundary value problems, with the same set of boundary conditions for the linearized and fully non-linear equations. Some basic flow configurations are employed to investigate steady and unsteady rarefaction effects in rarefied gas flows, namely, planar and cylindrical Couette flow, stationary heat transfer between two plates, unsteady and oscillatory Couette flow. A comparison with the corresponding results obtained previously by the DSMC method is performed. The influence of rarefaction effects in the lid driven cavity problem is investigated. Solutions obtained from several macroscopic models, in particular the classical NSF equations with jump and slip boundary conditions, and the R13--moment equations are compared. The R13 results compare well with those obtained from more costly solvers for rarefied gas dynamics, such as the Direct Simulation Monte Carlo (DSMC) method. Flow and heat transfer in a bottom heated square cavity in a moderately rarefied gas are investigated using the R13 and NSF equations. The results obtained are compared with those from the DSMC method with emphasis on understanding thermal flow characteristics from the slip flow to the early transition regime. The R13 theory gives satisfying results including flow patterns in fair agreement with DSMC in the transition regime, which the conventional Navier-Stokes-Fourier equations are not able to capture.



Kinetic Theory of Gases, Moment equations, Non-equilibrium Thermodynamics, Rarefied Gas Flows, Regularized 13 (R13) moment equations