The Fermi-Pasta-Ulam Problem and Its Underlying Integrable Dynamics

Benettin, G., Christodoulidi, Helen and Ponno, A. (2013) The Fermi-Pasta-Ulam Problem and Its Underlying Integrable Dynamics. Journal of Statistical Physics, 152 (2). pp. 195-212. ISSN 0022-4715

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This paper is devoted to a numerical study of the familiar α+β FPU model. Precisely, we here discuss, revisit and combine together two main ideas on the subject: (i) In the system, at small specific energy ε=E/N, two well separated time-scales are present: in the former one a kind of metastable state is produced, while in the second much larger one, such an intermediate state evolves and reaches statistical equilibrium. (ii) FPU should be interpreted as a perturbed Toda model, rather than (as is typical) as a linear model perturbed by nonlinear terms. In the view we here present and support, the former time scale is the one in which FPU is essentially integrable, its dynamics being almost indistinguishable from the Toda dynamics: the Toda actions stay constant for FPU too (while the usual linear normal modes do not), the angles fill their almost invariant torus, and nothing else happens. The second time scale is instead the one in which the Toda actions significantly evolve, and statistical equilibrium is possible. We study both FPU-like initial states, in which only a few degrees of freedom are excited, and generic initial states extracted randomly from an (approximated) microcanonical distribution. The study is based on a close comparison between the behavior of FPU and Toda in various situations. The main technical novelty is the study of the correlation functions of the Toda constants of motion in the FPU dynamics; such a study allows us to provide a good definition of the equilibrium time τ, i.e. of the second time scale, for generic initial data. Our investigation shows that τ is stable in the thermodynamic limit, i.e. the limit of large N at fixed ε, and that by reducing ε (ideally, the temperature), τ approximately grows following a power law τ∼ε^(−a) , with α=5/2.

Keywords:Fermi-Pasta-Ulam, Toda model, Thermodynamic limit, Decay of correlations, Time scales
Subjects:G Mathematical and Computer Sciences > G120 Applied Mathematics
G Mathematical and Computer Sciences > G121 Mechanics (Mathematical)
F Physical Sciences > F340 Mathematical & Theoretical Physics
Divisions:College of Science > School of Mathematics and Physics
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ID Code:37109
Deposited On:16 Sep 2019 10:11

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