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A molecular dynamics study of the microscopic properties of simple dense fluids


Fehder, Paul Lee (1970) A molecular dynamics study of the microscopic properties of simple dense fluids. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/EGRF-VD09.


The microscopic properties of a two-dimensional model dense fluid of Lennard-Jones disks have been studied using the so-called "molecular dynamics" method. Analyses of the computer-generated simulation data in terms of "conventional" thermodynamic and distribution functions verify the physical validity of the model and the simulation technique.

The radial distribution functions g(r) computed from the simulation data exhibit several subsidiary features rather similar to those appearing in some of the g(r) functions obtained by X-ray and thermal neutron diffraction measurements on real simple liquids. In the case of the model fluid, these "anomalous" features are thought to reflect the existence of two or more alternative configurations for local ordering.

Graphical display techniques have been used extensively to provide some intuitive insight into the various microscopic phenomena occurring in the model. For example, "snapshots" of the instantaneous system configurations for different times show that the "excess" area allotted to the fluid is collected into relatively large, irregular, and surprisingly persistent "holes". Plots of the particle trajectories over intervals of 2.0 to 6.0 x 10-12 sec indicate that the mechanism for diffusion in the dense model fluid is "cooperative" in nature, and that extensive diffusive migration is generally restricted to groups of particles in the vicinity of a hole.

A quantitative analysis of diffusion in the model fluid shows that the cooperative mechanism is not inconsistent with the statistical predictions of existing theories of singlet, or self-diffusion in liquids. The relative diffusion of proximate particles is, however, found to be retarded by short-range dynamic correlations associated with the cooperative mechanism--a result of some importance from the standpoint of bimolecular reaction kinetics in solution.

A new, semi-empirical treatment for relative diffusion in liquids is developed, and is shown to reproduce the relative diffusion phenomena observed in the model fluid quite accurately. When incorporated into the standard Smoluchowski theory of diffusion-controlled reaction kinetics, the more exact treatment of relative diffusion is found to lower the predicted rate of reaction appreciably.

Finally, an entirely new approach to an understanding of the liquid state is suggested. Our experience in dealing with the simulation data--and especially, graphical displays of the simulation data--has led us to conclude that many of the more frustrating scientific problems involving the liquid state would be simplified considerably, were it possible to describe the microscopic structures characteristic of liquids in a concise and precise manner. To this end, we propose that the development of a formal language of partially-ordered structures be investigated.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Chemistry
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
Major Option:Chemistry
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Robinson, G. Wilse
Thesis Committee:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:26 November 1969
Funding AgencyGrant Number
E. I. du Pont de Nemours and CompanyUNSPECIFIED
Shell Company FoundationUNSPECIFIED
American CyanamidUNSPECIFIED
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:07312015-091400303
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:9072
Deposited By: Benjamin Perez
Deposited On:04 Aug 2015 17:39
Last Modified:09 Nov 2022 19:20

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