2007-2008 Supercomputing Challenge New Mexico Supercomputing Challenge


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Challenge Team Interim Report

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    Team Number: 082

    School Name: Clovis High

    Area of Science: Physics

    Project Title: Collisions Applied to Gasses

Final Report


Model collisions between particles and apply the model to some practical situations. The main focus of the project will be on gasses.


  • Goal #1:

  • Model conservation of momentum between spherical particles.

    We can compare data from this type of simulation to the ideal gas law.

    We can begin to look at some other things such as: the propagation of sound waves through a gas, or the diffusion of gasses.

    We can also model gravity at this point.

    This would allow us to show how the atmosphere thins out as the distance from the Earth's surface increases (albeit that would be a pretty BIG simulation - lots of particles).

    This might also allow us to show different states of matter - a solid would rest near the Earth's surface and not flow, but when heated enough the kinetic energy would be able to escape the pull of gravity enough for the particles to change to a gaseou s state.

    We can also demonstrate the terminal velocity of something in free-fall through a gas.

  • Goal #2:

  • Model conservation of momentum (both linear and angular) between particles composed of more than one sphere. (ex. - a mono-atomic particle hits the bottom of a diatomic gas particle).

    As the complexity of the project increases, it would be interesting to continue comparing data from simulations to the ideal gas law. We can also begin comparing data to van der Waals equation for non-ideal gasses.

  • Goal #3:

  • Model forces between charged particles. Accomplishing goal #2 will help us a lot with this goal. The model of the forces is relatively simple. Take a water molecule for example - we just assign charges to 3 points in the 3 connected spheres, and then let simulation run.

    We know the static electric force between two charged particles (F = kqq/r^2), but we're not sure how or if we need to model forces due to magnetic fields created by moving charged particles.

    We hope to be able data from simulations after adding this feature will show us what we would expect to find in a phase state diagram. We think that the intermolecular forces of substances are the major factor determining the substances freezing, boil ing, and sublimation points.

    If we do this carefully enough, we might even be able to model ionic bonds, and show an ionic substance dissolve in water.


We know the physics necessary to accomplish goal #1. We have coded a C++ class to represent vectors, which will significantly help us when coding the model and simulation.

We have been trying to come up with a model for goal #2, but we are unsure of some of the derivations we are coming up with. We need to keep working on it and hopefully get some help from a mentor.

We can model static electric force, but we're unsure about whether we need to also model forces caused by magnetic fields (created by moving charged particles). If we do need to model forces do to magnetic fields, then we will need additional help, ot herwise we're good to go.

Expected results

We expect data from the simulation to closely match data from the ideal gas law and/or van der Waals equation for unideal gasses.

We expect to show waves propagate through different states (gas, solid, etc.) of the system of particles.

We should be able to produce data that agrees with the equation for the terminal velocity something free-falling through a gas or liquid (the main focus of the project will be on gasses).

We should be able to produce data that agrees with Graham's Law, which relates the rate of diffusion to the molar masses of 2 different gasses.

Team Members

Team Mail

Sponsoring Teachers

Project Advisor(s)

  • Dr. Scott Nutter from ENMU
  • Mr. Trent Toulouse from New Mexico Technet
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