The Thermofluid Dynamics (TFD) working group is a department at the Center of Applied Space Technology and Microgravity (ZARM) in which scientists deal with issues relating to the thermodynamics of highly rarefied gas flows, such as those that occur in space travel. Essentially, this involves challenges in predicting the dynamics of dilute gases in transonic microflows, numerical particle-in-cell (PIC) methods for modeling plasma flows, the simulation of electric propulsion systems for space travel and the numerical modeling of thermally or convectively driven, turbulent flows.

What influence do temperature distributions in the vicinity of chemical processes such as a candle flame or electrical discharges such as lightning have on atmospheric movements, i.e. flows in the immediate vicinity? Many people are familiar with thermally driven flows that are forced by natural convection or local pressure differences. However, understanding how certain effects can be prevented or technically utilized for a specific purpose often remains a challenge. In many areas of technical flows, a cross-scale approach is necessary.

In order to be able to predict macroscopic effects - i.e. processes on a "large scale" - it is often necessary to describe and model processes on a smaller scale in order to achieve sufficient results in predicting these processes. A well-known example is the description of turbulent flows, in which the production and dissipation of the smallest vortex structures represent the motor for mixing and turbulent momentum and energy diffusion in a flow.