Unpredictable convection in a small box: Molecular-dynamics experiments

D. C. Rapaport

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35 Scopus citations


The Rayleigh-Bénard problem has been studied using discrete-particle simulation of a two-dimensional fluid in a square box. The presence of temporal periodicity in the convective roll structure was observed, but, more significantly, different simulation runs under identical conditions but with initial states that differed in ways that are seemingly irrelevant at the macroscopic level exhibited very different forms of pattern evolution. The final state always consisted of a horizontally adjacent pair of rolls, but not all initial states evolved to produce well-established periodic behavior, despite the fact that very long runs were undertaken. Results for both hard- and soft-disk fluids are described; the simulations included systems with over 105 particles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1971-1984
Number of pages14
JournalPhysical Review A
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1992


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