Journal of Engineering Mathematics

, Volume 114, Issue 1, pp 43–64 | Cite as

First-order approximation to the Boltzmann–Curtiss equation for flows with local spin

  • Louis B. Wonnell
  • James ChenEmail author


The first-order approximation to the solution of the Boltzmann–Curtiss transport equation is derived. The resulting distribution function treats the rotation or gyration of spherical particles as an independent classical variable, deviating from the quantum mechanical treatment of molecular rotation found in the Wang Chang–Uhlenbeck equation. The Boltzmann–Curtiss equation, therefore, does not treat different rotational motions as separate molecular species. The first-order distribution function yields momentum equations for the translational velocity and gyration, which match the form of the governing equations of morphing continuum theory (MCT), a theory derived from the approach of rational continuum thermomechanics. The contributions of the local rotation to the Cauchy stress and the viscous diffusion are found to be proportional to an identical expression based on the relaxation time, number density, and equilibrium temperature of the fluid. When gyration is equated to the macroscopic angular velocity, the kinetic description reduces to the first-order approximation for a classical monatomic gas, and the governing equations match the form of the Navier–Stokes equations. The relaxation time used for this approximation is shown to be more complex due to the additional variable of local rotation. The approach of De Groot and Mazur is invoked to give an initial approximation for the relaxation of the gyration. The incorporation of this relaxation time, and other physical parameters, into the coefficients of the governing equations provides a more in-depth physical treatment of the new terms in the MCT equations, allowing for experimenters to test these expressions and get a better understanding of new coefficients in MCT.


BGK formulation Kinetic theory Turbulence 



This material is based upon work supported by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research under Award Number FA9550-17-1-0154. LBW would like to thank his coworkers Mohamad Ibrahim Cheikh and Mohamed Mohsen for their assistance with this work.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering DepartmentKansas State UniversityManhattanUSA
  2. 2.Department of Mechanical and Aerospace EngineeringThe State University of New York at BuffaloBuffaloUSA

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