The current research uses an unstructured direct simulation Monte Carlo (DSMC) method to numerically investigate supersonic and subsonic flow behavior in micro convergent–divergent nozzle over a wide range of rarefied regimes. The current unstructured DSMC solver has been suitably modified via using uniform distribution of particles, employing proper subcell geometry, and benefiting from an advanced molecular tracking algorithm. Using this solver, we study the effects of back pressure, gas/surface interactions (diffuse/specular reflections), and Knudsen number, on the flow field in micronozzles. We show that high viscous force manifesting in boundary layers prevents supersonic flow formation in the divergent section of nozzles as soon as the Knudsen number increases above a moderate magnitude. In order to accurately simulate subsonic flow at the nozzle outlet, it is necessary to add a buffer zone to the end of nozzle. If we apply the back pressure at the outlet, boundary layer separation is observed and a region of backward flow appears inside the boundary layer while the core region of inviscid flow experiences multiple shock-expansion waves. We also show that the wall boundary layer prevents forming shocks in the divergent part. Alternatively, Mach cores appear at the nozzle center followed by bow shocks and an expansion region.

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