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Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys. 2014 Apr;89(4):042143. Epub 2014 Apr 28.

Ballistic and diffusive dynamics in a two-dimensional ideal gas of macroscopic chaotic Faraday waves.

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Materials Science Institute and Department of Physics, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon 97403, USA.


We have constructed a macroscopic driven system of chaotic Faraday waves whose statistical mechanics, we find, are surprisingly simple, mimicking those of a thermal gas. We use real-time tracking of a single floating probe, energy equipartition, and the Stokes-Einstein relation to define and measure a pseudotemperature and diffusion constant and then self-consistently determine a coefficient of viscous friction for a test particle in this pseudothermal gas. Because of its simplicity, this system can serve as a model for direct experimental investigation of nonequilibrium statistical mechanics, much as the ideal gas epitomizes equilibrium statistical mechanics.


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