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Research Abstracts Online
January - December 2011

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University of Minnesota Twin Cities
College of Science and Engineering
Department of Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics

PI: Thomas E. Schwartzentruber

Molecular Simulation of Hypersonic Flows

This group’s research focuses on the numerical simulation of complex gas flows for which the molecular nature of the gas must be explicitly accounted for. Such problems include gas-surface interactions and non-equilibrium flows found in both hypersonics and micro-flows. The group specializes in particle simulation methods such as direct simulation Monte Carlo (DSMC) and molecular dynamics (MD). Research is split between algorithm development and physical model development for these numerical methods. The work is also focused on coupling these methods with each other and with continuum (CFD) methods in order to efficiently simulate practical flows of engineering interest with increased physical refinement where required.

The researchers have implemented their DSMC code using MPI. They are continuing development and testing on various architectures within the AEM department and also on MSI architectures. They are focusing on parallel adaptive mesh refinement and dynamic load balancing, which will best be accomplished through smaller parallel jobs for development. In addition, they will continue with MD simulations of high-temperature gas-surface interactions. Of interest is high-temperature, partially dissociated air interacting with an amorphous silicon dioxide (SiO2) surface. These are parallel simulations employing MPI. They are investigating the physical mechanisms and rates underlying surface catalysis reactions that increase the heat transfer to the material. These conditions and materials are relevant to hypersonic flight. Research is focused on building accurate gas-surface chemical rate models for use in macroscopic simulations such as DSMC or CFD.

Group Members

Bryon T. Edgar, Undergraduate Student
Da Gao, Research Associate
Paul E. Norman, Graduate Student
Cory Sorensen, Graduate Student
Paolo Valentini, Graduate Student
Chonglin Zhang, Graduate Student