Dennis J. Diestler Research Professor of Soil Physical Chemistry, emeriti
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Area of Focus
Soil Physical Chemistry
- B.S., Chemistry, Harvey Mudd College, 1964
- Ph.D., Chemical Physics, California Institute of Technology, 1967
- Molecular theory of interfacial phenomena
- Statistical thermodynamics of fluids in porous media
- Molecular theory of friction
- Statistical thermodynamics of multi-scale processes in heterogeneous materials
Major Project Activities
My main activities in research presently are devoted to an interdisciplinary project involving UNL's Departments of Agronomy and Horticulture, Engineering Mechanics, Chemistry, and Chemical Engineering. One thrust of the project is the development and application of hybrid atomistic-continuum computational methods to describe processes in heterogeneous solid systems that couple multiple spatial scales, ranging from molecular (atomistic) to macroscopic (continuum). Consider, for example, boundary lubrication, which involves a molecularly thin film of lubricant separating two solid surfaces that slide over each other. On the one hand, behavior of the film depends crucially on details of large-amplitude (diffusive) motions of the lubricant molecules. To describe this many-body motion on the molecular scale with the necessary precision, one must numerically solve Newton's equations. On the other hand, to follow the detailed motions of all atoms in the solid surfaces is practically impossible. Nevertheless, the response of solid regions far from the film significantly influences its behavior and cannot be ignored. Since these remote regions are perturbed only slightly (i.e., the atoms oscillate with small amplitude about their equilibrium positions), elastic continuum mechanics should provide an adequate description. A persistent problem is how to meld the highly accurate atomistic description required for the film with the approximate continuum description expected to suffice for the distant solid regions, in order to achieve a self-consistent and reliable global description. My principal research effort is currently given to exactly this challenging problem.
- D. J. Diestler, H. Zhou, R. Feng and X. C. Zeng, Hybrid atomistic-coarse-grained treatment of multiscale processes in heterogeneous materials: A self-consistent-field approach, Journal of Chemical Physics 125, 064705 (2006).
- Z.-B. Wu, D. J. Diestler and X. C. Zeng, Multiscale treatment of thin-film lubrication, Molecular Simulation 31, 811 (2005).
- H. Zhou, R. Feng, D. J. Diestler and X. C. Zeng, Coarse-grained free-energy-functional treatment of quasistatic multiscale processes in heterogeneous materials, Journal of Chemical Physics 123, 164109 (2005).
- S. H. L. Klapp, D. J. Diestler and M. Schoen, Why are effective potentials 'soft' ?, Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter 16, 7331(2004).
- D. J. Diestler, Z.-B. Wu and X. C. Zeng, An extension of the quasicontinuum treatment of multiscale solid systems to nonzero temperature, Journal of Chemical Physics 121, 9279 (2004).
- Z.-B. Wu, D. J. Diestler and X. C. Zeng, Hybrid atomistic-coarse-grained treatment of thin-film lubrication. II, Journal of Chemical Physics 121, 8029 (2004).
- Z.-B. Wu, D. J. Diestler, R. Feng and X. C. Zeng, Hybrid atomistic-coarse-grained treatment of thin-film lubrication. I, Journal of Chemical Physics 120, 6744 (2004).
- Z.-B. Wu, D. J. Diestler, R. Feng, and X. C. Zeng, Coarse-graining description of solid systems at nonzero temperature, Journal of Chemical Physics 119, 8013 (2003).
- D. J. Diestler, Coarse-grained descriptions of multiple scale processes in solid systems, Physical Review B 66, 184104 (2002).
- Wu, Z. B., Diestler, D. J., Feng, R. and Zeng, X. C. Hybrid Atomistic-Coarse-Grained Treatment of Thin-film Lubrication. I. Journal of Chemical Physics 120:6744 - 6750.
- Wu, Z. B., Diestler, D. J., Feng, R. and Zeng, X. C. Coarse-grained Description of Solid Systems at Nonzero Temperature. Journal of Chemical Physics 199:8013 - 8023.
- Diestler, D. J. 2002. Coarse-grained Descriptions of Multiple Scale Processes in Solids. Physical Review B 66: 184104-1 - 184104-7.
- Diestler, D. J. 2002. Constrained Statistical Thermodynamic Treatment of Friction. Journal of Chemical Physics 117: 3411-3424.
- Klapp, S. H. L., Bock, H., Diestler, D. J. and Schoen, M. 2002. Phase Transformations in Slit-Pores: The Role of Metastable Phases. Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter 14: 5673-5697.
- Bock, H., Diestler, D. J. and Schoen, M. 2001. Role of Nanoscopic Liquid Bridges in Static Friction. Physical Review E 64: 046124-1-6.
- Diestler, D. J. and Schoen, M. 2000. Correlation of Stress and Structure in a Simple Fluid Confined to a Slit-Pore With Furrowed Walls. Physical Review E 62: 6615-6627.
- Schoen, M., Gruhn, T. and Diestler, D.J. 1998. Solvation Forces in Thin Films Confined Between Macroscopically Curved Substrates. Journal of Chemical Physics 109: 301-311.
- Schoen, M. and Diestler, D.J. 1997. Liquid-Vapor Coexistence in a Chemically Heterogeneous Slit-Nanopore. Chemical Physics Letters 270: 339-344.
- Diestler, D.J. 1996. Statistical Thermodynamics of the Fluid-Solid Interface. Journal of Physical Chemistry 100 10414-10422.