A study of internal energy relaxation in shocks using molecular dynamics based models

Zheng Li, Neal Parsons, Deborah A. Levin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent potential energy surfaces (PESs) for the N2 + N and N2 + N2 systems are used in molecular dynamics (MD) to simulate rates of vibrational and rotational relaxations for conditions that occur in hypersonic flows. For both chemical systems, it is found that the rotational relaxation number increases with the translational temperature and decreases as the rotational temperature approaches the translational temperature. The vibrational relaxation number is observed to decrease with translational temperature and approaches the rotational relaxation number in the high temperature region. The rotational and vibrational relaxation numbers are generally larger in the N2 + N2 system. MD-quasi-classical trajectory (QCT) with the PESs is also used to calculate the V-T transition cross sections, the collision cross section, and the dissociation cross section for each collision pair. Direct simulation Monte Carlo (DSMC) results for hypersonic flow over a blunt body with the total collision cross section from MD/QCT simulations, Larsen-Borgnakke with new relaxation numbers, and the N2 dissociation rate from MD/QCT show a profile with a decreased translational temperature and a rotational temperature close to vibrational temperature. The results demonstrate that many of the physical models employed in DSMC should be revised as fundamental potential energy surfaces suitable for high temperature conditions become available.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number144501
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number14
StatePublished - Oct 14 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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