General multi-group macroscopic modeling for thermo-chemical non-equilibrium gas mixtures

Yen Liu, Marco Panesi, Amal Sahai, Marcel Vinokur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper opens a new door to macroscopic modeling for thermal and chemical non-equilibrium. In a game-changing approach, we discard conventional theories and practices stemming from the separation of internal energy modes and the Landau-Teller relaxation equation. Instead, we solve the fundamental microscopic equations in their moment forms but seek only optimum representations for the microscopic state distribution function that provides converged and time accurate solutions for certain macroscopic quantities at all times. The modeling makes no ad hoc assumptions or simplifications at the microscopic level and includes all possible collisional and radiative processes; it therefore retains all non-equilibrium fluid physics. We formulate the thermal and chemical non-equilibrium macroscopic equations and rate coefficients in a coupled and unified fashion for gases undergoing completely general transitions. All collisional partners can have internal structures and can change their internal energy states after transitions. The model is based on the reconstruction of the state distribution function. The internal energy space is subdivided into multiple groups in order to better describe non-equilibrium state distributions. The logarithm of the distribution function in each group is expressed as a power series in internal energy based on the maximum entropy principle. The method of weighted residuals is applied to the microscopic equations to obtain macroscopic moment equations and rate coefficients succinctly to any order. The model's accuracy depends only on the assumed expression of the state distribution function and the number of groups used and can be self-checked for accuracy and convergence. We show that the macroscopic internal energy transfer, similar to mass and momentum transfers, occurs through nonlinear collisional processes and is not a simple relaxation process described by, e.g., the Landau-Teller equation. Unlike the classical vibrational energy relaxation model, which can only be applied to molecules, the new model is applicable to atoms, molecules, ions, and their mixtures. Numerical examples and model validations are carried out with two gas mixtures using the maximum entropy linear model: one mixture consists of nitrogen molecules undergoing internal excitation and dissociation and the other consists of nitrogen atoms undergoing internal excitation and ionization. Results show that the original hundreds to thousands of microscopic equations can be reduced to two macroscopic equations with almost perfect agreement for the total number density and total internal energy using only one or two groups. We also obtain good prediction of the microscopic state populations using 5-10 groups in the macroscopic equations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number134109
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number13
StatePublished - Apr 7 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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