The Fn method in kinetic theory

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


A complete formulation of the recently developed. FN method in kinetic theory is presented and the accuracy of this advanced semi-analytical-numerical technique is demonstrated by testing the method to several classical problems in rarefied gas dynamics.

The method is based on the existing analysis for the vector transport equation arising from the decomposition of the linearized BGK equation. Using full-range orthogonality, a system of singular integral equations for the distribution functions at the boundaries is established. The unknown distribution functions are then approximated by a finite expansion in terms of a set of basis functions and the coefficients of the expansion are found by requiring the set of the reduced algebraic equations to be satisfied at certain collocation points.

By studying the half-space heat transfer and weak evaporation problems and the problem of heat transfer between two parallel plates it is demonstrated that the FN method is a viable solution technique yielding results of benchmark accuracy. Two different sets of basis functions are provided for half-space and finite media problems, respectively. In all cases, highly accurate numerical results are computed and compared to existing exact solutions. The obtained numerical results help in judging the accuracy to expect of the method and indicate that the FN method may be applied with confidence to problems for which, more exact methods of analysis do not appear possible.

Then, the cylindrical Poiseuille flow and thermal creep problems, which are not amenable to exact treatment, are solved. The FN method is formulated and tested successfully for the first time in cylindrical geometry in kinetic theory. The complete solution of the two aforementioned problems is presented with the numerical results quoted as converged being of reference-quality good for benchmark accuracy.