On study of deterministic conservative solvers for the nonlinear boltzmann and landau transport equations
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The Boltzmann Transport Equation (BTE) has been the keystone of the kinetic theory, which is at the center of Statistical Mechanics bridging the gap between the atomic structures and the continuum-like behaviors. The existence of solutions has been a great mathematical challenge and still remains elusive. As a grazing limit of the Boltzmann operator, the Fokker-Planck-Landau (FPL) operator is of primary importance for collisional plasmas. We have worked on the following three different projects regarding the most important kinetic models, the BTE and the FPL Equations. (1). A Discontinuous Galerkin Solver for Nonlinear BTE. We propose a deterministic numerical solver based on Discontinuous Galerkin (DG) methods, which has been rarely studied. As the key part, the weak form of the collision operator is approximated within subspaces of piecewise polynomials. To save the tremendous computational cost with increasing order of polynomials and number of mesh nodes, as well as to resolve loss of conservations due to domain truncations, the following combined procedures are applied. First, the collision operator is projected onto a subspace of basis polynomials up to first order. Then, at every time step, a conservation routine is employed to enforce the preservation of desired moments (mass, momentum and/or energy), with only linear complexity. The asymptotic error analysis shows the validity and guarantees the accuracy of these two procedures. We applied the property of ``shifting symmetries" in the weight matrix, which consists in finding a minimal set of basis matrices that can exactly reconstruct the complete family of collision weight matrix. This procedure, together with showing the sparsity of the weight matrix, reduces the computation and storage of the collision matrix from O(N3) down to O(N^2). (2). Spectral Gap for Linearized Boltzmann Operator. Spectral gaps provide information on the relaxation to equilibrium. This is a pioneer field currently unexplored form the computational viewpoint. This work, for the first time, provides numerical evidence on the existence of spectral gaps and corresponding approximate values. The linearized Boltzmann operator is projected onto a Discontinuous Galerkin mesh, resulting in a ``collision matrix". The original spectral gap problem is then approximated by a constrained minimization problem, with objective function the Rayleigh quotient of the "collision matrix" and with constraints the conservation laws. A conservation correction then applies. We also study the convergence of the approximate Rayleigh quotient to the real spectral gap. (3). A Conservative Scheme for Approximating Collisional Plasmas. We have developed a deterministic conservative solver for the inhomogeneous Fokker-Planck-Landau equations coupled with Poisson equations. The original problem is splitted into two subproblems: collisonless Vlasov problem and collisonal homogeneous Fokker-Planck-Landau problem. They are handled with different numerical schemes. The former is approximated using Runge-Kutta Discontinuous Galerkin (RKDG) scheme with a piecewise polynomial basis subspace covering all collision invariants; while the latter is solved by a conservative spectral method. To link the two different computing grids, a special conservation routine is also developed. All the projects are implemented with hybrid MPI and OpenMP. Numerical results and applications are provided.