Progress and future prospects for particle-based simulation of hypersonic flow

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The direct simulation Monte Carlo method (DSMC) has evolved over 50 years into a powerful numerical technique for the computation of thermochemical nonequilibrium gas flows. In this context, nonequilibrium means that velocity and internal energy distribution functions are not in equilibrium forms due to a low number of intermolecular collisions within a fluid element. In hypersonic flow, nonequilibrium conditions occur at high altitude and in regions of flow fields with small length scales. This article highlights significant developments in particle simulation methods (since 2001) applied specifically to hypersonic flows, which now includes Molecular Dynamics in addition to DSMC. Experimental measurements that have led directly to improved DSMC models will be highlighted. Algorithm development for DSMC aimed at increasing computational efficiency is discussed with a focus on hybrid particle-continuum methods. New research that applies all-atom Molecular Dynamics simulation and trajectory-based DSMC simulation to normal shock waves is summarized. Finally, a discussion of state-resolved DSMC modeling is included with reference to future prospects for particle simulation methods and in particular for the DSMC method.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)66-79
Number of pages14
JournalProgress in Aerospace Sciences
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
T.E.S. gratefully acknowledges support from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research Young Investigator Program (YIP) Grant FA9550-10-1-0075 . I.D.B. gratefully acknowledges funding for this work through Air Force Office of Scientific Research Grants FA9550-11-1-0309 and FA9550-12-1-0483 . The views and conclusions contained herein are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as necessarily representing the official policies or endorsements, either expressed or implied, of the AFOSR or the U.S. Government.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • Hypersonics
  • Nonequilibrium
  • Particle simulation
  • Rarefied gas dynamics


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