First-principles simulations of Fluids in the Earth, Planets, and Exoplanets

Theme: Solid Earth Dynamics
Primary Supervisor:

Ronald Cohen

Earth Sciences, UCL

Project Description:

The goal of this project is to predict properties of fluids in the Earth and other planets. Many properties of solids can be determined experimentally at high pressures and temperatures, but many of the same measurements are not feasible for fluids.

The fundamental equation of state, that is the energy (E), pressure (P), volume (V), temperature (T) relations, for fluids are not accessible experimentally at high pressures, yet are crucial for any models of fluid behaviour in the Earth and other planets.

Of particular interest are (1) the behaviour of carbonated aqueous fluids, important in the transition zone and upper mantle, (2) liquid iron alloys, important in Earth’s core, and (3) liquid hydrogen alloys, important in giant planets.

The student will formulate a research project in one of these three areas using first principles molecular dynamics. In addition to the equations of state, we will study transport and other properties.

Policy Impact of Research:

This research will provide important constraints on fluid properties, that will feed into modelling on planetary evolution, dynamics, and differentiation.

It is crucial for understanding the structure and properties of the Earth and other planets.

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