The "ice giants" Uranus and Neptune, and exoplanets like them, comprise large amounts of water, ammonia, and methane ices, as well as hydrogen in various forms. Yet it is unknown how these compounds organize themselves under the extreme conditions of pressure and temperature in the interior of the planets - for instance, would they occur as a mixture, or instead as well separated layers within the planets.
In this project, we will explore computationally the phase diagram of mixtures of some or all of water, methane, ammonia, and molecular hydrogen as a function of pressure, to find stable solid phases, establish their structural, dynamical, and electronic properties, and predict observables accessible to laboratory high-pressure experiments and astrophysical measurements. Calculations will, amongst others, utilise national resources such as the ARCHER supercomputer.
- Dr Andreas Hermann (School of Physics & Astronomy, University of Edinburgh)
The project supervisor welcomes informal enquiries about this project.
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