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Section: Application Domains

Complex fluid flows

The team is interested in some numerical methods for the simulation of systems of PDEs describing complex flows, like for instance, mixture flows, granular gases, rarefied gases, or quantum fluids.

Variable-density, low-Mach flows have been widely studied in the recent literature because of their applicability in various phenomena such as flows in high-temperature gas reactors, meteorological flows, flows with convective and/or conductive heat transfer or combustion processes. In such cases, the resolution of the full compressible Navier–Stokes system is not adapted, because of the sound waves speed. The Boussinesq incompressible model is not a better alternative for such low-speed phenomena, because the compressibility effects can not be totally cancelled due to large variations of temperature and density. Consequently, some models have been formally derived, leading to the filtering of the acoustic waves by the use of some formal asymptotic expansions and two families of methods have been developed in the literature in order to compute these flows. We are interested in particular in the so-called pressure-based methods which are more robust than density-based solvers, although their range of validity is in general more limited.

Kinetic theory of molecular gases models a gas as a system of elastically colliding spheres, conserving mechanical energy during impact. Once initialized, it takes a molecular gas not more than few collisions per particle to relax to its equilibrium state, characterized by a Maxwellian velocity distribution and a certain homogeneous density (in the absence of external forces). A granular gas is a system of dissipatively colliding, macroscopic particles (grains). This slight change in the microscopic dynamics (converting energy into heat) causes drastic changes in the behavior of the gas: granular gases are open systems, which exhibit self-organized spatio-temporal cluster formations, and have no equilibrium distribution. They can be used to model silos, avalanches, pollen or planetary rings.

The quantum models can be used to describe superfluids, quantum semiconductors, weakly interacting Bose gases or quantum trajectories of Bohmian mechanics. They have attracted considerable attention in the last decades, due in particular to the development of the nanotechnology applications. To describe quantum phenomena, there exists a large variety of models. In particular there exist three different levels of description: microscopic, mesoscopic and macroscopic. The quantum Navier–Stokes equations deal with a macroscopic description in which the quantum effects are taken into account through a third order term called the quantum Bohm potential. This Bohm potential arises from the fluid dynamical formulation of the single-state Schrödinger equation. The non-locality of quantum mechanics is approximated by the fact that the equations of state do not only depend on the particle density but also on its gradient. These equations were employed to model field emissions from metals and steady-state tunneling in metal- insulator- metal structures and to simulate ultra-small semiconductor devices.