Stochastic characteristics and Second Law violations of atomic fluids in Couette flow

Bharath V. Raghavan, Pouyan Karimi, Martin Ostoja-Starzewski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Using Non-equilibrium Molecular Dynamics (NEMD) simulations, we study the statistical properties of an atomic fluid undergoing planar Couette flow, in which particles interact via a Lennard-Jones potential. We draw a connection between local density contrast and temporal fluctuations in the shear stress, which arise naturally through the equivalence between the dissipation function and entropy production according to the fluctuation theorem. We focus on the shear stress and the spatio-temporal density fluctuations and study the autocorrelations and spectral densities of the shear stress. The bispectral density of the shear stress is used to measure the degree of departure from a Gaussian model and the degree of nonlinearity induced in the system owing to the applied strain rate. More evidence is provided by the probability density function of the shear stress. We use the Information Theory to account for the departure from Gaussian statistics and to develop a more general probability distribution function that captures this broad range of effects. By accounting for negative shear stress increments, we show how this distribution preserves the violations of the Second Law of Thermodynamics observed in planar Couette flow of atomic fluids, and also how it captures the non-Gaussian nature of the system by allowing for non-zero higher moments. We also demonstrate how the temperature affects the band-width of the shear-stress and how the density affects its Power Spectral Density, thus determining the conditions under which the shear-stress acts is a narrow-band or wide-band random process. We show that changes in the statistical characteristics of the parameters of interest occur at a critical strain rate at which an ordering transition occurs in the fluid causing shear thinning and affecting its stability. A critical strain rate of this kind is also predicted by the Loose–Hess stability criterion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)90-107
Number of pages18
JournalPhysica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications
StatePublished - Apr 15 2018


  • Couette flow
  • Information theory
  • Molecular dynamics
  • Second-law violations
  • Shear-thinning
  • Stochastic characteristics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability


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