Scaling laws and bulk-boundary decoupling in heat flow

J.J. del Pozo, P.L. Garrido, P.I. Hurtado

When driven out of equilibrium by a temperature gradient, fluids respond by developing a nontrivial, inhomogeneous structure according to the governing macroscopic laws. Here we show that such structure obeys strikingly simple scaling laws arbitrarily far from equilibrium, provided that both macroscopic local equilibrium and Fourier’s law hold. Extensive simulations of hard disk fluids confirm the scaling laws even under strong temperature gradients, implying that Fourier’s law remains valid in this highly nonlinear regime, with putative corrections absorbed into a nonlinear conductivity functional. In addition, our results show that the scaling laws are robust in the presence of strong finite-size effects, hinting at a subtle bulk-boundary decoupling mechanism which enforces the macroscopic laws on the bulk of the finite-sized fluid. This allows to measure for the first time the marginal anomaly of the heat conductivity predicted for hard disks.

Additional material: video demonstrating the scaling procedure (credit: J. del Pozo 2014)

Phys. Rev. E 91, 032116 (2015)arXiv:1401.5244