Web Applet For Predicting Structure And Thermodynamics Of Complex Fluids
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Based on a recently introduced analytical strategy [Hollingshead et al., J. Chem. Phys. 139, 161102 (2013)], we present a web applet that can quickly and semi-quantitatively estimate the equilibrium radial distribution function and related thermodynamic properties of a fluid from knowledge of its pair interaction. We describe the applet's features and present two (of many possible) examples of how it can be used to illustrate concepts of interest for introductory statistical mechanics courses: the transition from ideal gas-like behavior to correlated-liquid behavior with increasing density, and the tradeoff between dominant length scales with changing temperature in a system with ramp-shaped repulsions. The latter type of interaction qualitatively captures distinctive thermodynamic properties of liquid water, because its energetic bias toward locally open structures mimics that of water's hydrogen-bond network. (C) 2015 American Association of Physics Teachers.