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Experimental and Numerical Study of the Pressure Drop in Transonic Micronozzle Flows Across Multiple Flow Regimes

[+] Author Affiliations
Juan E. Gomez Herrera, Rodion Groll

University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany

Paper No. ICNMM2016-7919, pp. V001T01A001; 11 pages
  • ASME 2016 14th International Conference on Nanochannels, Microchannels, and Minichannels collocated with the ASME 2016 Heat Transfer Summer Conference and the ASME 2016 Fluids Engineering Division Summer Meeting
  • ASME 2016 14th International Conference on Nanochannels, Microchannels, and Minichannels
  • Washington, DC, USA, July 10–14, 2016
  • Conference Sponsors: Fluids Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5034-3
  • Copyright © 2016 by ASME


In the present work, the behavior of a millimeter-scale cold-gas thruster operating with the noble gases neon, argon, krypton and xenon is investigated both experimentally and numerically. In the experimental setup, the cold-gas thruster operates under vacuum conditions and the pressure drop in the system is measured at several fixed mass flow rates ranging between 0.178 mg/s and 3.568 mg/s. The estimated Knudsen numbers for all the studied cases are above the continuum flow limit 0.01. At the higher mass flow rates the studied flows are in the slip-flow regime while at the lower mass flow rates, the transition regime is reached. The experimental pressure results are compared with numerical simulations based on the compressible Navier-Stokes equations with a no-slip boundary condition and with simulations based on the Direct Simulation Monte Carlo (DSMC) method. At high values of Kn, the pressure results of the Navier-Stokes based simulations show high deviations from both the DSMC and the experimental results. This is a consequence of the discrepancy between the no-slip boundary condition used for the Navier-Stokes simulations and gas rarefaction effects in the micronozzle becoming dominant at the lower mass flow rates.

Based on the comparison between the experimental results and the Navier-Stokes based simulations, a Knudsen-dependent correcting function with four gas-independent accommodation coefficients is developed. The accommodation coefficients allow the accurate estimation of the actual pressure drop along the nozzle based on usually computationally inexpensive Navier-Stokes simulations with no-slip boundary conditions. The flexibility of the proposed approach is advantageous for the study of experimental setups operating at a large range of mass flow rates, where several flow regimes might exist, provided that a rigorous numerical distinction between continuum, slip-flow and transition regime is not essential.

Copyright © 2016 by ASME



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