The Asymptotic Telegrapher's Equation (P 1) Approximation for Time-Dependent, Thermal Radiative Transfer

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We develop the asymptotic P 1 approximation for the time-dependent thermal radiative transfer equation for a multidimensional general geometry. Careful derivation of the asymptotic P 1 equations, directly from the time-dependent Boltzmann equation, yields a particle velocity that is closer (v ≈ 0.91c) to the exact value of c but is based on an asymptotic analysis rather than diffusion theory (infinite velocity) or conventional P 1 theory (which gives rise to the Telegrapher's equation, v= 1/√3c ≈ 0.577c). While this approach does not match the exact value of c as does the P 1/3 method, the latter method is an ad hoc approach that has not been justified on theoretical grounds. This article provides the theoretical justification for the almost-correct value of c that yields improved results for the well-known (one-dimensional) Su-Olson benchmark for radiative transfer, for which we obtain a semi-analytic solution in the case of local thermodynamic equilibrium. We found that the asymptotic P 1 approximation yields a better solution than the diffusion, the classic P 1, and the P 1/3 approximations, yielding the correct steady-state behavior for the energy density and the (almost) correct particle velocity.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)175-199
Number of pages25
JournalTransport Theory and Statistical Physics
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - May 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Boltzmann equation
  • diffusion equation
  • kinetic theory
  • radiative transfer
  • transport theory

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Mathematical Physics
  • Transportation
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Applied Mathematics


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