Stochastic Properties of Colliding Hard Spheres in a Non-equilibrium Thermal Bath
MetadataShow full item record
We consider the problem of describing the dynamics of a test particle moving in a thermal bath using the stochastic differential equations. We briefly recall the stochastic approach to the Brownian based on the statistical properties of collision theory for a gas of elastic particles and the molecular chaos hypothesis. The mathematical formulation of the Brownian motion leads to the formulation of the Ornstein-Uhlenbeck equation that provides a stationary solution consistent with the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution. According to the stochastic thermodynamics, we assume that the stochastic differential equations allow to describe the transient states of the test particle dynamics in a thermal bath and it extends their application to the study of the non-equilibrium statistical physics. Then we consider the problem of the dynamics of a test massive particle in a non homogeneous thermal bath where a gradient of temperature is present. We discuss as the existence of a local thermodynamics equilibrium is consistent with a Stratonovich interpretation of the stochastic differential equations with a multiplicative noise. The stochastic model applied to the test particle dynamics implies the existence of a long transient state during which the particle shows a net drift toward the cold region of the system. This effect recalls the thermophoresis phenomenon performed by large molecule in a solution in response to a macroscopic temperature gradient and it can be explained as an effect of the non-locality character of the collision interactions between the test particle and the thermal bath particles. To validate the stochastic model assumptions we analyze the simulation results of the 2-dimensional hard sphere gas obtained by using an event-based computer code, that solves exactly the sphere dynamics. The temperature gradient is simulated by the presence of two reflecting boundary conditions at different temperature. The simulations suggest that existence of a local thermodynamic equilibrium is justified and highlight the presence of a drift in the average dynamics of an ensemble of massive particles. The results of the paper could be relevant for the applications of stochastic dynamical systems to the non-equilibrium statistical physics that is a key issue for the Complex Systems Physics.