A molecular dynamics simulation of planar Couette flow is presented for the minimal channel in which turbulence structures can be sustained. Evolution over a single breakdown and regeneration cycle is compared to computational fluid dynamics simulations. Qualitative similar structures are observed and turbulent statistics show excellent quantitative agreement. The molecular scale law of the wall is presented in which stick-slip molecular wall-fluid interactions replace the no-slip conditions. The impact of grid resolution is explored and the observed structures are seen to be dependent on averaging time and length scales. The kinetic energy spectra show that a range of scales are present in the molecular system and that spectral content is dependent on the grid resolution employed. The subgrid velocity of the molecules is studied using joint probability density functions, molecular trajectories, diffusion, and Lagrangian statistics. The importance of sub-grid scales, relevance of the Kolmogorov lengthscale, and implications of molecular turbulence are discussed.
Note: From the ideal gas equations, the predicted speed of sound is about 130 m/s (T = 48 K), although to take into account the effect of dense fluid effects, the speed of sound is measured by an initial shock wave observed on start-up which moves at 248 m/s.