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A Comparison of Angular Discretization Techniques for the Radiative Transport Equation

[+] Author Affiliations
John Tencer

Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM

Paper No. IMECE2015-50417, pp. V08BT10A034; 7 pages
  • ASME 2015 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 8B: Heat Transfer and Thermal Engineering
  • Houston, Texas, USA, November 13–19, 2015
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5750-2
  • Copyright © 2015 by ASME


Two of the most popular deterministic radiation transport methods for treating the angular dependence of the radiative intensity for heat transfer: the discrete ordinates and simplified spherical harmonics approximations are compared. A problem with discontinuous boundary conditions is included to evaluate ray effects for discrete ordinates solutions. Mesh resolution studies are included to ensure adequate convergence and evaluate the effects of the contribution of false scattering. All solutions are generated using finite element spatial discretization. Where applicable, any stabilization used is included in the description of the approximation method or the statement of the governing equations. A previous paper by the author presented results for a set of 2D benchmark problems for the discrete ordinates method using the PN-TN quadrature of orders 4, 6, and 8 as well as the P1, M1, and SP3 approximations. This paper expands that work to include the Lathrop-Carlson level symmetric quadrature of order up to 20 as well as the Lebedev quadrature of order up to 76 and simplified spherical harmonics of odd orders from 1 to 15. Two 3D benchmark problems are considered here. The first is a canonical problem of a cube with a single hot wall. This case is used primarily to demonstrate the potentially unintuitive interaction between mesh resolution, quadrature order, and solution error. The second case is meant to be representative of a pool fire. The temperature and absorption coefficient distributions are defined analytically. In both cases, the relative error in the radiative flux or the radiative flux divergence within a volume is considered as the quantity of interest as these are the terms that enter into the energy equation. The spectral dependence of the optical properties and the intensity is neglected.

Copyright © 2015 by ASME



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