Ryan Neilson

Photo of Ryan Neillson
PhD June 2017


Thermodynamic and Transport Properties of Na-Ca Aluminosilicate Liquids and Glasses by Molecular Dynamics Simulations at Elevated Temperature and Pressure

Research Areas
Silicate liquid thermodynamics, mantle processes, petrology, volcanology

Frank Spera


UCSB Doctoral Scholar Fellowship, 2012/13 & 2015/16
Harry Glicken Memorial Graduate Fellowship, 2013/14


I use molecular dynamics (MD) simulations to model liquid aluminosilicates at high temperature and high pressure.  From the calculated state properties (e.g., energy, volume, temperature, pressure) of the equilibrium fluid, I develop an equation of state specific to the composition.  Though theoretical in nature, MD simulations are powerful tools for investigating material properties.  For example, I use MD calculations to extract structural information such as coordination numbers.  Comparing coordination statistics directly to thermodynamic properties highlights the influence of microscopic liquid structure on macroscopic properties of liquid silicates.  

I also investigate thermal conductivity, self-diffusion, and the nature of the glass transition for silicate liquids using MD simulation.    


EARTH 2: Physical Geology (Teaching Assistant), S13/W14/M14/W15
EARTH 7: Dinosaurs (Teaching Assistant), F13
EARTH 20: Geological Catastrophes (Teaching Assistant), M13
EARTHW 20: Geological Catastrophes Online (Teaching Assistant), M15
EARTH 102A: Igneous Petrology (Teaching Assistant), S14
EARTH 114: Geomaterials (Teaching Assistant), F14
EARTH 126/226: Thermodynamics (Teaching Assistant), S15
EARTH 130: Global Warming (Reader), W13