Molecular dynamics simulation of fractal aggregate diffusion

G Pranami and MH Lamm and RD Vigil, PHYSICAL REVIEW E, 82, 051402 (2010).

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.82.051402

The diffusion of fractal aggregates constructed with the method by Thouy and Jullien J. Phys. A 27, 2953 (1994) comprised of N(p) spherical primary particles was studied as a function of the aggregate mass and fractal dimension using molecular dynamics simulations. It is shown that finite-size effects have a strong impact on the apparent value of the diffusion coefficient (D), but these can be corrected by carrying out simulations using different simulation box sizes. Specifically, the diffusion coefficient is inversely proportional to the length of a cubic simulation box, and the constant of proportionality appears to be independent of the aggregate mass and fractal dimension. Using this result, it is possible to compute infinite dilution diffusion coefficients (D(o)) for aggregates of arbitrary size and fractal dimension, and it was found that D(o)proportional to N(p)(-1/df), as is often assumed by investigators simulating Brownian aggregation of fractal aggregates. The ratio of hydrodynamic radius to radius of gyration is computed and shown to be independent of mass for aggregates of fixed fractal dimension, thus enabling an estimate of the diffusion coefficient for a fractal aggregate based on its radius of gyration.

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