Probability distribution for heat exchange in plastic deformation

W Dednam and MJ Caturla and AE Botha and E SanFabian and JA Miralles and E Louis, PHYSICAL REVIEW E, 104, 034101 (2021).

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.104.034101

Fluctuation theorems allow one to obtain equilibrium information from nonequilibrium experiments. The probability distribution function of the relevant magnitude measured along the irreversible nonequilibrium trajectories is an essential ingredient of fluctuation theorems. In small systems, where fluctuations can be larger than average values, probability distribution functions often deviate from being Gaussian, showing long tails, mostly exponential, and usually strongly asymmetric. Recently, the probability distribution function of the van Hove correlation function of the relevant magnitude was calculated, instead of that of the magnitude itself. The resulting probability distribution function is highly symmetric, obscuring the application of fluctuation theorems. Here, the discussion is illustrated with the help of results for the heat exchanged during plastic deformation of aluminum nanowires, obtained from molecular dynamics calculations. We find that the probability distribution function for the heat exchanged is centrally Gaussian, with asymmetric exponential tails further out. By calculating the symmetry function we show that this distribution is consistent with fluctuation theorems relating the differences between two equilibrium states to an infinite number of nonequilibrium paths connecting those two states.

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