Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to describe the micro fluid flow analysis in a micro thruster of micro‐/nano‐ satellite propulsion system and to propose the algorithm for the fluid flow simulations with the open boundary based on moving boundary method. Design/methodology/approach – The analysis is based on a finite volume moving boundary method. Underlying mathematical model is the system of Navier‐Stokes‐Fourier partial differential equation describing compressible gas model. Propellant under the study is pure nitrogen gas. First, the static geometry velocity vector field is calculated and the information of the velocity at the outflow boundary is obtained; then, with the moving boundary method the outlet boundary is evolved. Evolution of the boundary is stopped when the continuum model ceases to hold. The criteria of the continuum model failure are based on the local Knudsen number. Findings – The validations of the flow with respect to the Knudsen number showed that the continuum model is valid in the nozzle interior part (from the pressure value to the nozzle throat). The exterior nozzle part (diverging side) showed immediate raising of the Knudsen number above the continuum threshold (0.01). For the overall accurate computations of thruster flow, the continuum model must be coupled with molecular model (i.e. Boltzmann BGK). Originality/value – In this paper, the authors propose a method for the computation of an open boundary flow with the application of the moving boundary method.
Engineering Computations – Emerald Publishing
Published: Mar 8, 2011
Keywords: Artificial satellites; MEMS; Boundary‐elements methods; Gas technology; Flow
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