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Section: Scientific Foundations

Interactions of Micro- and Macroscopic Scales, Modelling and Simulations

Reduced Models; Hydrodynamic Limits

In the study of kinetic equations, it is a very usual strategy to perform a hydrodynamic limit, and then to get rid of the velocity variable and replace the kinetic equation by a convection-diffusion model. This kind of derivation is well established, under various forms, and in several fields of applications: neutron transport, semiconductor theory, SHE(referring to the standard vocabulary in Physics for Spherical Harmonics Expansion) models... However, several questions of great interest have not yet been solved:

- The computation of the convection-diffusion coefficients of the limit equation, a question which leads to additional difficulties when the small mean free path asymptotics are combined with a homogeneization limit. This problem is motivated by applications in nuclear engineering. In this case, the effective coefficients are defined through auxiliary equations and suitable averages of the oscillatory coefficients.

- Some recent works have revealed the formation of singularities in the solutions of some limit convection-diffusion equations, while the original kinetic equation has globally defined solutions. This is due to a coupling in the definition of the convective term with the macroscopic density. This singularity formation is typical of aggregation dynamics. It occurs in models with gravitational forces in astrophysics, and chemotaxis models in biology. Therefore, the natural problems are either to provide a sharp analysis (theoretical and/or based on numerics) of the singularity formation, or to complete the model to avoid such trouble.

- A crucial question for applications is to write models for intermediate regimes, for small but non zero values of the mean free path. Such models are required to remain solvable with a moderate computational cost, and to preserve more features from the kinetic level (as for instance finite speeds of propagation, which is lost with a diffusion equation). An example of such an intermediate model is the moment system obtained by using a closure by Entropy Minimization. We have proved recently that this model is indeed consistent with the diffusion approximation, and we propose an original scheme to treat these equations numerically. We introduce a relaxation strategy which in turn is naturally amenable to the use of asymptotic preserving splitting methods and anti-diffusive schemes for transport equations that are developed in the team. Therefore, we can compare various limited flux models and discuss on numerics their properties and advantages.

Radiative Transfer Theory

We are interested in the equations of the radiative transfer theory which are motivated by the description of high temperature combustion processes (spacecraft propulsion, reentry problems), space observation, nuclear weapons engineering, or inertial confinement fusion. Such problems can be described by a coupling between kinetic and macroscopic equations that comes from the “collision term”, through energy, or energy-impulsion, exchanges. The hydrodynamic limit yields coupled macroscopic equations, with possibly two distinct temperatures: the temperature of the radiations and the temperature of the material. Taking into account Doppler and relativistic effects adds convective terms, which in turn might give rise to the formation of specific singularities.

The interesting points can be summarized as follows:

- The derivation of the reduced models, based on modeling arguments, is an issue, bearing in mind to describe a complete hierarchy of models;

- The coupling induces non trivial effects on the structure of the hydrodynamics system, which can modify strongly the qualitative properties of the solutions. In particular, the radiative transfer equations might exhibit non standard shocks profiles, with possible discontinuities. The computation of such discontinuous shock profiles requires a very accurate and nondiffusive numerical scheme for the convective terms. This also leads to the delicate question of the stability of travelling waves solutions.

These topics are the object of a very intense research activity e.g. at the Department of Computational Physics of the Los Alamos National Laboratory as well as at the French Atomic Energy Agency (CEA). We develop alternative numerical methods, based on tricky splitting approaches. When dealing with kinetic models, such methods have to be specifically designed to preserve the asymptotic properties of the model. In this approach, one computes on a time step the evolution of the unknown due the convective terms, which will be handled by antidiffusive schemes (see the paragraph Conservation Laws below), and on the next time step, we treat source and interaction terms, that can be nonlocal and/or stiff. This leads to a fully explicit scheme which provides accurate results for a cheap numerical cost and which does not require a tedious inversion step as the implicit methods usually do. We are able to treat numerically the full coupling of radiation with hydrodynamics (Euler equations) in the non equilibrium diffusion regime.

Fluid/Particles Interactions

These models arise in the modelling of disperse suspensions in fluids, say droplet or bubble motion. Their study is motivated by applications to combustion, rocket propulsor engineering, biology, aerosols engineering, or for certain industrial processes... The main effect to take into account is the Stokes drag force, which is proportional to the relative velocity between the particle and the surrounding fluid F(t, x, v) = $ \gamma$(u(t, x)-v) . However, modelling remains a major issue in this field; in particular, here are some important questions :

- Complementary effects can be taken into account: the so-called Basset force, or the added mass effect, etc... For instance, when particles flow in a pipe, a phenomenological lift force, proportional to v×(v-u) , has been proposed to mimic the tendency of particles to concentrate at the center of the pipe. Even though moderate in strength, such a force can have crucial effects on blood flows, or on industrial processes of steel production.

- Up to now, there are only a few contributions on the description of size variations, by coagulation or fragmentation and break-up. However, in practical situations, as for combustion or biology applications, these phenomena cannot be neglected.

- Of course, the coupling with the evolution of the surrounding fluid is a crucial question that leads naturally to problems of asymptotics. Effects of “turbulence”, which roughly means high and fast variations of u on the behavior of the particles, have been analyzed in some simplified situations.

The coupling with the Navier-Stokes or the Euler equations is a privileged subject for SIMPAF. Some asymptotics lead to two-phase flows models, that we are interested in investigating both from a theoretical and numerical point of view. In particular, the effect of an external force (gravitational or centrifugal) can lead to sedimentation profiles that are suspected to be stable; we would like to confirm these heuristics by a thorough numerical and theoretical study. Of course, such investigations require efficient numerical schemes to solve the fluid equations with source terms, which will be detailed in the next sections. To this end, we adapt to this framework the numerical schemes we develop for radiative transfer problems, based on splitting methods and a suitable use of the asymptotic expansion.


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