Coupled Space-Angle Adaptivity and Goal-Oriented Error Control for Radiation Transport Calculations

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Park, HyeongKae
de Oliveira, Cassiano R. E.
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This research is concerned with the self-adaptive numerical solution of the neutral particle radiation transport problem. Radiation transport is an extremely challenging computational problem since the governing equation is seven-dimensional (3 in space, 2 in direction, 1 in energy, and 1 in time) with a high degree of coupling between these variables. If not careful, this relatively large number of independent variables when discretized can potentially lead to sets of linear equations of intractable size. Though parallel computing has allowed the solution of very large problems, available computational resources will always be finite due to the fact that ever more sophisticated multiphysics models are being demanded by industry. There is thus the pressing requirement to optimize the discretizations so as to minimize the effort and maximize the accuracy. One way to achieve this goal is through adaptive phase-space refinement. Unfortunately, the quality of discretization (and its solution) is, in general, not known a priori; accurate error estimates can only be attained via the a posteriori error analysis. In particular, in the context of the finite element method, the a posteriori error analysis provides a rigorous error bound. The main difficulty in applying a well-established a posteriori error analysis and subsequent adaptive refinement in the context of radiation transport is the strong coupling between spatial and angular variables. This research attempts to address this issue within the context of the second-order, even-parity form of the transport equation discretized with the finite-element spherical harmonics method. The objective of this thesis is to develop a posteriori error analysis in a coupled space-angle framework and an efficient adaptive algorithm. Moreover, the mesh refinement strategy which is tuned for minimizing the error in the target engineering output has been developed by employing the dual argument of the problem. This numerical framework has been implemented in the general-purpose neutral particle code EVENT for assessment.
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