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Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys. 2012 Dec;86(6 Pt 2):066413. Epub 2012 Dec 28.

Direct molecular dynamics simulation of liquid-solid phase equilibria for a three-component plasma.

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  • 1Department of Physics and Nuclear Theory Center, Indiana University, Blooomington, Indiana 47405, USA. jhughto@astro.indiana.edu

Abstract

The neutron-rich isotope ²²Ne may be a significant impurity in carbon and oxygen white dwarfs and could impact how the stars freeze. We perform molecular dynamics simulations to determine the influence of ²²Ne in carbon-oxygen-neon systems on liquid-solid phase equilibria. Both liquid and solid phases are present simultaneously in our simulation volumes. We identify liquid, solid, and interface regions in our simulations using a bond angle metric. In general we find good agreement for the composition of liquid and solid phases between our MD simulations and the semianalytic model of Medin and Cumming. The trace presence of a third component, neon, does not appear to strongly impact the chemical separation found previously for two-component carbon and oxygen systems. This suggests that small amounts of ²²Ne may not qualitatively change how the material in white dwarf stars freezes. However, we do find systematically lower melting temperatures (higher Γ) in our MD simulations compared to the semianalytic model. This difference seems to grow with impurity parameter Q_{imp} and suggests a problem with simple corrections to the linear mixing rule for the free energy of multicomponent solid mixtures that is used in the semianalytic model.

PMID:
23368065
[PubMed]
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