Nanoscale simple-fluid behavior under steady shear

X Yong and LT Zhang, PHYSICAL REVIEW E, 85, 051202 (2012).

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.85.051202

In this study, we use two nonequilibrium molecular dynamics algorithms, boundary-driven shear and homogeneous shear, to explore the rheology and flow properties of a simple fluid undergoing steady simple shear. The two distinct algorithms are designed to elucidate the influences of nanoscale confinement. The results of rheological material functions, i.e., viscosity and normal pressure differences, show consistent Newtonian behaviors at low shear rates from both systems. The comparison validates that confinements of the order of 10 nm are not strong enough to deviate the simple fluid behaviors from the continuum hydrodynamics. The non-Newtonian phenomena of the simple fluid are further investigated by the homogeneous shear simulations with much higher shear rates. We observe the "string phase" at high shear rates by applying both profile- biased and profile-unbiased thermostats. Contrary to other findings where the string phase is found to be an artifact of the thermostats, we perform a thorough analysis of the fluid microstructures formed due to shear, which shows that it is possible to have a string phase and second shear thinning for dense simple fluids.

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