A critical analysis is given of the applicability of six-beam models to radiative transfer in particulate materials. The method of introducing transverse scattering in these models is shown to cause fundamental difficulties in the case of physically plausible phase functions; in particular, the effective absorptivity is abnormally large and thus results in incorrect reflectances and transmittances. Six-beam calculations for several media are compared with accurate solutions, with Chu-Churchill two-beam results, and with a simple modification to the Eddington approximation, the last being generally superior over a wide range of conditions.
W. E. Meador and W. R. Weaver, "Six-beam models in radiative transfer theory," Appl. Opt. 15, 3155-3160 (1976)