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Effects of curvature on rarefied gas flows between rotating concentric cylinders

Dongari, Nishanth and White, Craig and Scanlon, Thomas and Zhang, Yonghao and Reese, Jason (2013) Effects of curvature on rarefied gas flows between rotating concentric cylinders. Physics of Fluids, 25 (5). ISSN 1070-6631

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The gas flow between two concentric rotating cylinders is considered in order to investigate non-equilibrium effects associated with the Knudsen layers over curved surfaces. We investigate the nonlinear flow physics in the near-wall regions using a new power-law (PL) wall-scaling approach. This PL model incorporates Knudsen layer effects in near-wall regions by taking into account the boundary limiting effects on the molecular free paths. We also report new direct simulation Monte Carlo results covering a wide range of Knudsen numbers and accommodation coefficients, and for various outer-to-inner cylinder radius ratios. Our simulation data are compared with both the classical slip flow theory and the PL model, and we find that non-equilibrium effects are not only dependent on Knudsen number and accommodation coefficient but are also significantly affected by the surface curvature. The relative merits and limitations of both theoretical models are explored with respect to rarefaction and curvature effects. The PL model is able to capture some of the nonlinear trends associated with Knudsen layers up to the early transition flow regime. The present study also illuminates the limitations of classical slip flow theory even in the early slip flow regime for higher curvature test cases, although the model does exhibit good agreement throughout the slip flow regime for lower curvature cases. Torque and velocity profile comparisons also convey that a good prediction of integral flow properties does not necessarily guarantee the accuracy of the theoretical model used, and it is important to demonstrate that field variables are also predicted satisfactorily.