A modular particle-continuum numerical method for hypersonic non-equilibrium gas flows

T. E. Schwartzentruber, L. C. Scalabrin, I. D. Boyd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

148 Scopus citations


A modular particle-continuum (MPC) numerical method for steady-state flows is presented which solves the Navier-Stokes equations in regions of near-equilibrium and uses the direct simulation Monte Carlo (DSMC) method to simulate regions of non-equilibrium gas flow. Existing, state-of-the-art, DSMC and Navier-Stokes solvers are coupled together using a novel modular implementation which requires only a limited number of additional hybrid functions. Hybrid functions are used to adaptively position particle-continuum interfaces and update boundary conditions in each module at appropriate times. The MPC method is validated for 2D flow over a cylinder at various hypersonic Mach numbers where the global Knudsen number is 0.01. For the cases considered, the MPC method is verified to accurately reproduce DSMC flow field results as well as local particle velocity distributions up to 2.2 times faster than full DSMC simulations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1159-1174
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Computational Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2007

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work is sponsored by the Space Vehicle Technology Institute, under NASA grant NCC3-989 with joint sponsorship from the Department of Defense and from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research grant FA9550-05-1-0115. This work is also supported by the Francois-Xavier Bagnoud Foundation.


  • DSMC
  • Direct simulation Monte Carlo
  • Hybrid particle-continuum
  • Hypersonics
  • Non-equilibrium flow
  • Rarefied flow
  • Re-entry vehicles


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