The piecewise linear discontinuous finite element method applied to the RZ and XYZ transport equations



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Texas A&M University


In this dissertation we discuss the development, implementation, analysis and testing of the Piecewise Linear Discontinuous Finite Element Method (PWLD) applied to the particle transport equation in two-dimensional cylindrical (RZ) and three-dimensional Cartesian (XYZ) geometries. We have designed this method to be applicable to radiative-transfer problems in radiation-hydrodynamics systems for arbitrary polygonal and polyhedral meshes. For RZ geometry, we have implemented this method in the Capsaicin radiative-transfer code being developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory. In XYZ geometry, we have implemented the method in the Parallel Deterministic Transport code being developed at Texas A&M University. We discuss the importance of the thick diffusion limit for radiative-transfer problems, and perform a thick diffusion-limit analysis on our discretized system for both geometries. This analysis predicts that the PWLD method will perform well in this limit for many problems of physical interest with arbitrary polygonal and polyhedral cells. Finally, we run a series of test problems to determine some useful properties of the method and verify the results of our thick diffusion limit analysis. Finally, we test our method on a variety of test problems and show that it compares favorably to existing methods. With these test problems, we also show that our method performs well in the thick diffusion limit as predicted by our analysis. Based on PWLD's solid finite-element foundation, the desirable properties it shows under analysis, and the excellent performance it demonstrates on test problems even with highly distorted spatial grids, we conclude that it is an excellent candidate for radiativetransfer problems that need a robust method that performs well in thick diffusive problems or on distorted grids.