New patch smoothers or relaxation techniques are developed for solving linear matrix equations coming from systems of discretized partial differential equations (PDEs). One key linear solver challenge for many PDE systems arises when the resulting discretization matrix has a near null space that has a large dimension, which can occur in generalized magnetohydrodynamic (GMHD) systems. Patch-based relaxation is highly effective for problems when the null space can be spanned by a basis of locally supported vectors. The patch-based relaxation methods that we develop can be used either within an algebraic multigrid (AMG) hierarchy or as stand-alone preconditioners. These patch-based relaxation techniques are a form of well-known overlapping Schwarz methods where the computational domain is covered with a series of overlapping sub-domains (or patches). Patch relaxation then corresponds to solving a set of independent linear systems associated with each patch. In the context of GMHD, we also reformulate the underlying discrete representation used to generate a suitable set of matrix equations. In general, deriving a discretization that accurately approximates the curl operator and the Hall term while also producing linear systems with physically meaningful near null space properties can be challenging. Unfortunately, many natural discretization choices lead to a near null space that includes non-physical oscillatory modes and where it is not possible to span the near null space with a minimal set of locally supported basis vectors. Further discretization research is needed to understand the resulting trade-offs between accuracy, stability, and ease in solving the associated linear systems.

This report summarizes the findings and outcomes of the LDRD-express project with title “Fluid models of charged species transport: numerical methods with mathematically guaranteed properties”. The primary motivation of this project was the computational/mathematical exploration of the ideas advanced aiming to improve the state-of-the-art on numerical methods for the one-fluid Euler-Poisson models and gain some understanding on the Euler-Maxwell model. Euler-Poisson and Euler-Maxwell, by themselves are not the most technically relevant PDE plasma-models. However, both of them are elementary building blocks of PDE-models used in actual technical applications and include most (if not all) of their mathematical difficulties. Outside the classical ideal MHD models, rigorous mathematical and numerical understanding of one-fluid models is still a quite undeveloped research area, and the treatment/understanding of boundary conditions is minimal (borderline non-existent) at this point in time. This report focuses primarily on bulk-behaviour of Euler-Poisson’s model, touching boundary conditions only tangentially.

We consider the development of multifluid models for partially ionized multispecies plasmas. The models are composed of a standard set of five-moment fluid equations for each species plus a description of electromagnetics. The most general model considered utilizes a full set of fluid equations for each charge state of each atomic species, plus a set of fluid equations for electrons. The fluid equations are coupled through source terms describing electromagnetic coupling, ionization, recombination, charge exchange, and elastic scattering collisions in the low-density coronal limit. The form of each of these source terms is described in detail, and references for required rate coefficients are identified for a diverse range of atomic species. Initial efforts have been made to extend these models to incorporate some higher-density collisional effects, including ionization potential depression and three- body recombination. Some reductions of the general multifluid model are considered. First, a reduced multifluid model is derived which averages over all of the charge states (including neutrals) of each atomic species in the general multifluid model. The resulting model maintains full consistency with the general multifluid model from which it is derived by leveraging a quasi-steady-state collisional ionization equilibrium assumption to recover the ionization fractions required to make use of the general collision models. Further reductions are briefly considered to derive certain components of a single-fluid magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) model. In this case, a generalized Ohm's law is obtained, and the standard MHD resistivity is expressed in terms of the collisional models used in the general multifluid model. A number of numerical considerations required to obtain robust implementations of these multifluid models are discussed. First, an algebraic flux correction (AFC) stabilization approach for a continuous Galerkin finite element discretization of the multifluid system is described in which the characteristic speeds used in the stabilization of the fluid systems are synchronized across all species in the model. It is demonstrated that this synchronization is crucial in order to obtain a robust discretization of the multifluid system. Additionally, several different formulations are considered for describing the electromagnetics portion of the multifluid system using nodal continuous Galerkin finite element discretizations. The formulations considered include a parabolic divergence cleaning method and an implicit projection method for the traditional curl formulation of Maxwell's equations, a purely- hyperbolic potential-based formulation of Maxwell's equations, and a mixed hyperbolic-elliptic potential-based formulation of Maxwell's equations. Some advantages and disadvantages of each formulation are explored to compare solution robustness and the ease of use of each formulation. Numerical results are presented to demonstrate the accuracy and robustness of various components of our implementation. Analytic solutions for a spatially homogeneous damped plasma oscillation are derived in order to verify the implementation of the source terms for electromagnetic coupling and elastic collisions between fluid species. Ionization balance as a function of electron temperature is evaluated for several atomic species of interest by comparing to steady-state calculations using various sets of ionization and recombination rate coefficients. Several test problems in one and two spatial dimensions are used to demonstrate the accuracy and robustness of the discretization and stabilization approach for the fluid components of the multifluid system. This includes standard test problems for electrostatic and electromagnetic shock tubes in the two-fluid and ideal shock-MHD limits, a cylindrical diocotron instability, and the GEM challenge magnetic reconnection problem. A one-dimensional simplified prototype of an argon gas puff configuration as deployed on Sandia's Z-machine is used as a demonstration to exercise the full range of capabilities associated with the general multifluid model.