Levich Institute Seminar Announcement, 02/01/2011
Tuesday, 02/01/2011
2:00 PM
Steinman Hall, Room #312
(Chemical Engineering Conference Room)

Professor Aleksandar Donev
New York University
Courant Institute

"Hydrodynamics at Small Scales: The Importance of Thermal Fluctuations "


Joint work with John Bell (Lawrence Berkeley National Labs), Alejandro Garcia (San Jose State University), Berni Alder (Lawrence Livermore National Labs), Eric Vanden-Eijnden and Jonathan Goodman (Courant Institute)

I will describe our recent and ongoing research focused on fluid mechanics in regimes where thermal fluctuations are important. Notable examples include flows at micro and nano scales typical of new microfluidic, nanofluidic and microelectromechanical devices; biological systems such as lipid membranes, Brownian molecular motors, nanopores; as well as processes where the effect of fluctuations is amplified by strong non-equilibrium effects, such as combustion of lean flames, capillary dynamics, hydrodynamic instabilities, and others. After introducing particle and continuum methods for fluctuating hydrodynamics, I will describe a hybrid particle-continuum method that employs bidirectional dynamic coupling between a stochastic particle fluid and a fluctuating continuum. Through several examples I will demonstrate that thermal fluctuations have to be consistently included in the continuum component of hybrid calculations in order not to distort the thermal equilibrium in the particle solver. I will discuss the importance of hydrodynamic fluctuations in several physical examples, such as Brownian beads, the adiabatic piston problem, and diffusively mixing fluids.


I am presently an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, part of New York University. Until the summer of 2010 I was a Luis Alvarez Postdoctoral Fellow at Lawrence Berkeley National Labs, working in the group of John Bell at the Center for Computational Sciences and Engineering. I was a Lawrence Postdoctoral Fellow at Lawrence Livermore National Labs from 2006-2009, where I was part of the Computational Materials Science group. From 2001-2006 I was a Ph.D. student at Princeton University in the Program in Computational and Applied Mathematics, and conducted research at the Princeton Institute for the Science and Technology of Materials in collaboration with Dr. Salvatore Torquato as part of the Complex Materials Theory Group. I obtained my B.S. in physics at Michigan State University, where I was part of the research group of Dr. Phillip Duxbury.

I work on developing algorithms that accelerate or systematically coarse-grain traditional methods such as Molecular Dynamics or (Kinetic) Monte Carlo, as well as multi-scale (hybrid) methods combining particle with stochastic (fluctuating) coarse-grained models. My present focus is on fluid dynamics at small scales, and in particular, fluctuating hydrodynamics.