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.

Let us first focus on fluid mixture flows. The fluid is described by its density, its velocity and its pressure. These quantities obey mass and momentum conservation. On the one hand, when we deal with the 2D variable density incompressible Navier-Stokes equations, we aim to study the ability of the numerical scheme to reproduce some instabilities phenomena such as the Rayleigh-Taylor instability. On the other hand, diffuse interface models have gained renewed interest for the last few years in fluid mechanics applications. From a physical viewpoint, they allow to describe some phase transition phenomena. If the Fick's law relates the divergence of the velocity field to derivatives of the density, one obtains the so called Kazhikhov-Smagulov model  [68]. Here, the density of the mixture is naturally highly non homogeneous, and the constitutive law accounts for diffusion effects between the constituents of the mixture. Models of this type can be used for instance to simulate powder-snow avalanches [6], low-Mach flows, or hydrodynamic models arising in combustion theory or transport of pollutants.

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) cause drastic changes in the behavior of the gas: granular gases are open systems, which exhibits self-organized spatio-temporal cluster formations, and has 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.