Rovibrational coupling in molecular nitrogen at high temperature: An atomic-level study

Paolo Valentini, Paul Norman, Chonglin Zhang, Thomas E. Schwartzentruber

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This article contains an atomic-level numerical investigation of rovibrational relaxation in molecular nitrogen at high temperature (>4000 K), neglecting dissociation. We conduct our study with the use of pure Molecular Dynamics (MD) and Classical Trajectory Calculations (CTC) Direct Simulation Monte Carlo (DSMC), verified to produce statistically identical results at the conditions of interest here. MD and CTC DSMC solely rely on the specification of a potential energy surface: in this work, the site-site Ling-Rigby potential. Additionally, dissociation is prevented by modeling the N-N bond either as a harmonic or an anharmonic spring. The selected molecular model was shown to (i) recover the shear viscosity (obtained from equilibrium pure MD Green-Kubo calculations) of molecular nitrogen over a wide range of temperatures, up to dissociation; (ii) predict well the near-equilibrium rotational relaxation behavior of N2; (iii) reproduce vibrational relaxation times in excellent accordance with the Millikan-White correlation and previous semi-classical trajectory calculations in the low temperature range, i.e., between 4000 K and 10 000 K. By simulating isothermal relaxations in a periodic box, we found that the traditional two-temperature model assumptions become invalid at high temperatures (>10 000 K), due to a significant coupling between rotational and vibrational modes for bound states. This led us to add amodification to both the Jeans and the Landau-Teller equations to include a coupling term, essentially described by an additional relaxation time for internal energy equilibration. The degree of anharmonicity of the N2 bond determines the strength of the rovibrational coupling. Although neglecting N2 dissociation only provides a partial description of a nitrogen system at very high temperatures, high-energy trends for bound-bound transitions are essential to understand nonequilibrium gas flows, with possible implications on rovibration/chemistry interaction at the onset of N2 dissociation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number056103
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 20 2014


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