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Multimillion-atom reactive molecular dynamics (RMD) and large quantum molecular dynamics (QMD) simulations are used to investigate structural and dynamical correlations under highly nonequilibrium conditions and reactive processes in nanostructured materials under extreme conditions. This paper discusses four simulations:
1. RMD simulations of heated aluminum nanoparticles have been performed to study the fast oxidation reaction processes of the core (aluminum)-shell (alumina) nanoparticles and small complexes.
2. Cavitation bubbles readily occur in fluids subjected to rapid changes in pressure. We have used billion-atom RMD simulations on a 163,840-processor Blue Gene/P supercomputer to investigate chemical and mechanical damages caused by shock-induced collapse of nanobubbles in water near silica surface. Collapse of an empty nanobubble generates high-speed nanojet, resulting in the formation of a pit on the surface. The gas-filled bubbles undergo partial collapse and consequently the damage on the silica surface is mitigated.
3. Our QMD simulation reveals rapid hydrogen production from water by an Al superatom. We have found a low activation-barrier mechanism, in which a pair of Lewis acid and base sites on the Aln surface preferentially catalyzes hydrogen production.
4. We have introduced an extension of the divide-and-conquer (DC) algorithmic paradigm called divide-conquer-recombine (DCR) to perform large QMD simulations on massively parallel supercomputers, in which interatomic forces are computed quantum mechanically in the framework of density functional theory (DFT). A benchmark test on an IBM Blue Gene/Q computer exhibits an isogranular parallel efficiency of 0.984 on 786,432 cores for a 50.3 million-atom SiC system. As a test of production runs, LDC-DFT-based QMD simulation involving 16,661 atoms was performed on the Blue Gene/Q to study on-demand production of hydrogen gas from water using LiAl alloy particles.
Multimillion-atom molecular dynamics simulations are used to investigate burning behavior of a chain of three alumina-coated aluminum nanoparticles (ANPs), where particles one and three are heated above the melting temperature of pure aluminum. The mode and mechanism behind the heat and mass transfer from the hot ANPs (particles one and three) to the middle, cold ANP (particle two) are studied. The hot nanoparticles oxidize first, after which hot Al atoms penetrate into the cold nanoparticle. It is also found that due to the penetration of hot Al atoms, the cold nanoparticle oxidizes at a faster rate than in the initially heated nanoparticles. The calculated speed of penetration is found to be 54 m/s, which is within the range of experimentally measured flame propagation rates. As the atoms penetrate into the central ANP, they maintain their relative positions. The atoms from the shell of the central ANP form the first layer, which is followed by the atoms from the shell of the outer ANP making the second layer and lastly the atoms from the core of the outer ANPs form the third layer. In addition to heating the central ANP by convection, the ejected hot Al atoms from the outer ANPs initiate exothermic oxidation reactions inside the central ANP, leading to further heating within the central ANP. During 1 ns, all three ANPs fuse together, forming a single ellipsoidal aggregate.
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