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Ronald Larson

Multi-Scale Simulations of Thermodynamics and Flow of Polymeric, Colloidal, and Surfactant Materials

University of Michigan

Event Details:

Monday, October 16, 2023
4:30pm - 5:30pm PDT


(In Person) Y2E2 111

This event is open to:


Multi-Scale Simulations of Thermodynamics and Flow of Polymeric, Colloidal, and Surfactant Materials 

Ronald Larson 
Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Michigan


Continuum-level thermodynamic, rheology, and flow properties relevant to industrial applications can now be computed from multi-scale simulations ranging from molecular dynamics (MD), Brownian dynamics (BD), and continuum fluid mechanical simulations. Molecular simulations are aided by biasing methods, such as umbrella sampling, and forward flux sampling. Reduction of computation is assisted by non-linear optimization methods, including the Genetic Algorithm and the Particle Swarm Method. We demonstrate the power of these methods by computing the dynamics and rheology of “polymer-like” worm-like surfactant solutions and colloid-polymer mixtures used in consumer and industrial products, namely shampoos and paints, and film blowing of polyethylene polymers. We also compare the predicted results to experimental data, and extract information, that is unavailable, or not easily available, from experiments alone.

Ronald Larson joined the Chemical Engineering Department at the University of Michigan in 1996, after working for 17 years at Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, New Jersey. He received a B.S in1975, an M.S. in 1977, and a Ph.D. in 1980, all in chemical engineering from the University of Minnesota. Larson’s research interests include the structure and flow properties of viscous or elastic fluids, sometimes called “complex fluids”, which include polymers, colloids, surfactant-containing fluids, liquid crystals, and biological macromolecules such as DNA, proteins, and lipid membranes. He is also interested in fluid mechanics, including microfluidics, and transport modeling.  He has written numerous scientific papers and two books on these subjects, including a 1998 textbook, “The Structure and Rheology of Complex Fluids”. He was awarded the Alpha Chi Sigma and Walker Awards from the AICHE; the Bingham Medal from the Society of Rheology, and the Polymer Physics Prize of the APS, and is a member of the National Academy of Engineering. He is the GG Brown Professor of Chemical Engineering and the AH White Distinguished University Professor of the Univ. of Michigan.

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