Fluid-phase helium: Shock-compression experiments, quantum molecular dynamics simulations, and development of an equation of state

PC Myint and S Root and CJ Wu and RC Clay and A Lopez and HL Hanshaw and RW Lemke and DE Bliss and DL Hanson and DG Flicker and ZC Long, PHYSICAL REVIEW B, 108, 134202 (2023).

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.108.134202

Helium (He) plays a critical role in numerous areas ranging from the study of celestial objects like brown dwarfs and gas giants to modern- day technologies like nuclear energy and rocket propulsion. For many of these applications, it is essential to have a reliable equation of state (EOS) for He that yields an accurate representation of its thermodynamic behavior. To help constrain and develop such EOS models, we have performed a series of shock-compression experiments on cryogenic liquid He to pressures exceeding 100 GPa using a magnetically accelerated flyer plate on Sandia National Laboratories' Z-machine. We have also performed quantum molecular dynamics simulations that are consistent with our shock measurements. None of the previously available EOSs agree with our experimental and simulation results, motivating the development of a fluid-phase He EOS that we present in this study. We show that our EOS yields good agreement with published data that span temperatures and pressures encountered across a diverse array of applications.

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