Numerical Implementation of Streaming Down the Gradient: Application to Fluid Modeling of Cosmic Rays and Saturated Conduction
The equation governing the streaming of a quantity down its gradient superficially looks similar to the simple constant velocity advection equation. In fact, it is the same as an advection equation if there are no local extrema in the computational domain or at the boundary. However, in general when there are local extrema in the computational domain it is a non-trivial nonlinear equation. The standard upwind time evolution with a CFL-limited time step results in spurious oscillations at the grid scale. These oscillations, which originate at the extrema, propagate throughout the computational domain and are undamped even at late times. These oscillations arise because of unphysically large fluxes leaving (entering) the maxima (minima) with the standard CFL-limited explicit methods. Regularization of the equation shows that it is diffusive at the extrema; because of this, an explicit method for the regularized equation with $\Delta t \propto \Delta x^2$ behaves fine. We show that the implicit methods show stable and converging results with $\Delta t \propto \Delta x$; however, surprisingly, even implicit methods are not stable with large enough timesteps. In addition to these subtleties in the numerical implementation, the solutions to the streaming equation are quite novel: non-differentiable solutions emerge from initially smooth profiles; the solutions show transport over large length scales, e.g., in form of tails. The fluid model for cosmic rays interacting with a thermal plasma (valid at space scales much larger than the cosmic ray Larmor radius) is similar to the equation for streaming of a quantity down its gradient, so our method will find applications in fluid modeling of cosmic rays.
- Pub Date:
- September 2009
- Astrophysics - High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena;
- Astrophysics - Astrophysics of Galaxies;
- Mathematical Physics;
- Physics - Computational Physics
- accepted in SIAM J. of Scient. Comp.