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Joel Koplik's research involves microscale numerical simulation in fluid mechanical systems. The principal area is the molecular dynamics simulation of fluid flows, which aims to understand fluid mechanical phenomena at atomic length and time scales which are not adequately handled by the usual continuum equations (Navier-Stokes, etc.). By directly calculating the motion of the atoms and molecules involved using suitable choices for the interaction forces, both simple and complex non-Newtonian fluids such as surfactant solutions, polymers and particulate suspensions may be studied. Recent areas of interest include elucidating flow boundary condition at liquid and solid surfaces, understanding apparently singular behavior at corners and interfaces, steric issues in the spreading of surfactant-laden drops, nanoscale fluid flows on patterned substrates, transport in polyelectrolyte solutions, and clustering of nano-particles at liquid-vapor interfaces. A second research area concerns transport in porous and random media, which has addressed anomalous phenomena in hydrodynamic dispersion, trapping and accumulation in filtration problems and the non-linear drag at high Reynolds number, using pore-level flow calculations. Lately we have focused on flow, tracer dispersion and anisotropy in self-affine fractal geological fractures, and in particular the motion of particulate suspensions in fracture systems. A third topic is superfluid vortex dynamics, where computational fluid dynamics techniques are used to study the behavior of an ensemble of individual superfluid vortex filaments immersed in a background normal fluid flow, with the aim of understanding superfluid turbulence.

For more information, please click here to visit Professor Koplik's webpage.

Molecular dynamics simulation of the motion of a liquid drop on a solid surface driven by a wettability gradient: a water drop on a self-assembled monolayer of alkanethiol chains terminated with methyl or hydroxl groups, where the (attractive) hydroxl concentration increases from left to right. [Click on above images for larger view].
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