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Atoms in the Surf: Molecular Dynamics Simulation of the Kelvin-Helmholtz Instability using 9 Billion Atoms


We present a fluid dynamics video showing the results of a 9-billion atom molecular dynamics simulation of complex fluid flow in molten copper and aluminum. Starting with an atomically flat interface, a shear is imposed along the copper-aluminum interface and random atomic fluctuations seed the formation of vortices. These vortices grow due to the Kelvin-Helmholtz instability. The resulting vortical structures are beautifully intricate, decorated with secondary instabilities and complex mixing phenomena. This work performed under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Energy by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory under Contract DE-AC52-07NA27344.