Collisional statistics of the hard-sphere gas

P. Visco 1, 2, F. van Wijland 1, 3, E. Trizac 2

Physical Review E: Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics 77 (2008) 041117

We investigate the probability distribution function of the free flight time and of the number of collisions in a hard sphere gas at equilibrium. At variance with naive expectation, the latter quantity does not follow Poissonian statistics, even in the dilute limit which is the focus of the present analysis. The corresponding deviations are addressed both numerically and analytically. In writing an equation for the generating function of the cumulants of the number of collisions, we came across a perfect mapping between our problem and a previously introduced model: the probabilistic ballistic annihilation process [Coppex et al., Phys. Rev. E 69 11303 (2004)]. We exploit this analogy to construct a Monte-Carlo like algorithm able to investigate the asymptotically large time behavior of the collisional statistics within a reasonable computational time. In addition, our predictions are confronted against the results of Molecular Dynamics simulations and Direct Simulation Monte Carlo technique. An excellent agreement is reported.

  • 1. Laboratoire de Physique Théorique d'Orsay (LPT),
    CNRS : UMR8627 – Université Paris XI - Paris Sud
  • 2. Laboratoire de Physique Théorique et Modèles Statistiques (LPTMS),
    CNRS : UMR8626 – Université Paris XI - Paris Sud
  • 3. Matière et Systèmes Complexes (MSC),
    CNRS : UMR7057 – Université Paris VII - Paris Diderot