Date of Award

Spring 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Alina Alexeenko

Committee Chair

Alina Alexeenko

Committee Member 1

Gregory A. Blaisdell

Committee Member 2

Jong Hyun Choi

Committee Member 3

Robert P. Lucht


Advances in computer technology over the decades has allowed for more complex physics to be modeled in the DSMC method. Beginning with the first paper on DSMC in 1963, 30,000 collision events per hour were simulated using a simple hard sphere model. Today, more than 10 billion collision events can be simulated per hour for the same problem. Many new and more physically realistic collision models such as the Lennard-Jones potential and the forced harmonic oscillator model have been introduced into DSMC. However, the fact that computer resources are more readily available and higher-fidelity models have been developed does not necessitate their usage. It is important to understand how such high-fidelity models affect the output quantities of interest in engineering applications. The effect of elastic and inelastic collision models on compressible Couette flow, ground-state atomic oxygen transport properties, and normal shock waves have therefore been investigated. Recommendations for variable soft sphere and Lennard-Jones model parameters are made based on a critical review of recent ab-initio calculations and experimental measurements of transport properties.