4.3 Relativistic beam scheme

Sanders and Prendergast [254Jump To The Next Citation Point] proposed an explicit scheme to solve the equilibrium limit of the non-relativistic Boltzmann equation, i.e., the Euler equations of Newtonian fluid dynamics. In their so-called beam scheme the Maxwellian velocity distribution function is approximated by several Dirac delta functions or discrete beams of particles in each computational cell, which reproduce the appropriate moments of the distribution function. The beams transport mass, momentum, and energy into adjacent cells, and their motion is followed to first-order accuracy. The new (i.e., time advanced) macroscopic moments of the distribution function are used to determine the new local non-relativistic Maxwell distribution in each cell. The entire process is then repeated for the next time step. The CFL stability condition requires that no beam of gas travels farther than one cell in one time step. This beam scheme, although being a particle method derived from a microscopic kinetic description, has all the desirable properties of modern characteristic-based wave propagating methods based on a macroscopic continuum description.

The non-relativistic scheme of Sanders and Prendergast [254] has been extended to relativistic flows by Yang et al. [303Jump To The Next Citation Point]. They replaced the Maxwellian distribution function by its relativistic analogue, i.e., by the more complex Jüttner distribution function, which involves modified Bessel functions. For three-dimensional flows the Jüttner distribution function is approximated by seven delta functions or discrete beams of particles, which can viewed as dividing the particles in each cell into seven distinct groups. In the local rest frame of the cell these seven groups represent particles at rest and particles moving in ±x, ±y, and ±z directions, respectively.

Yang et al. [303Jump To The Next Citation Point] show that the integration scheme for the beams can be cast into the form of an upwind conservation scheme in terms of numerical fluxes. They further show that the beam scheme not only splits the state vector but also the flux vectors, and has some entropy-satisfying mechanism embedded as compared with an approximate relativistic Riemann solver [74Jump To The Next Citation Point257Jump To The Next Citation Point] based on Roe’s method [248]. The simplest relativistic beam scheme is only first-order accurate in space, but can be extended to higher-order accuracy in a straightforward manner. Yang et al. consider three high-order accurate variants (TVD2, ENO2, ENO3) generalizing their approach developed in [304305] for Newtonian gas dynamics, which is based on the essentially non-oscillatory (ENO) piecewise polynomial reconstruction scheme of Harten et al. [121Jump To The Next Citation Point].

Yang et al. [303Jump To The Next Citation Point] present several numerical experiments including relativistic one-dimensional shock tube flows and the simulation of relativistic two-dimensional Kelvin–Helmholtz instabilities. The shock tube experiments consist of a mildly relativistic shock tube, relativistic shock heating of a cold flow, the relativistic blast wave interaction of Woodward and Colella [300Jump To The Next Citation Point] (see Section 6.2.3), and the perturbed relativistic shock tube flow of Shu and Osher [261Jump To The Next Citation Point].

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