We derive an asymptotic method for solving the steady Boltzmann equation describing phonon transport in the small Knudsen number limit. We show that accurate solutions can be obtained by expanding the unknown phonon distribution function by treating the Knudsen number (Kn) as a small parameter. This procedure can be used to show that, in the bulk, the temperature field obeys the Laplace (steady heat conduction) equation to all orders in Kn. As expected, deviations from the classical heat equation as Kn increases (from very small values) first appear at the boundaries. Specifically, the inhomogeneity introduced by the boundaries requires the presence of a kinetic boundary layer of thickness on the order of a few mean free paths. Matching this boundary layer to the bulk solution yields boundary conditions for the heat conduction equation.
For the case of a boundary at a prescribed temperature, this analysis shows that the traditional no-jump boundary conditions provide solutions consistent with the Boltzmann equation only to zeroth order in Kn. Considering first and second order terms in Kn can be used to show that the appropriate boundary conditions for the heat conduction equation are of the jump (slip) type, with jump coefficients that depend on the material model and the phonon-boundary interaction model. In this work we consider various types of boundaries, such as adiabatic diffusive and adiabatic specular walls, as well as interfaces characterized by frequency-dependent transmission coefficients.
In addition to providing a prescription for obtaining solutions consistent with the Boltzmann equation at significantly less complexity or numerical cost, these results also provide physical insight on the role of size effects and the mechanism by which classical heat conduction theory breaks down. They also provide rigorous justification and quantitative characterization of temperature jumps at material boundaries/interfaces observed in previous studies of size effects.