arXiv:1106.4210v1 [hep-th] 21 Jun 2011
Extraction of shear viscosity in stationary states of relativistic
F. Reining,1I. Bouras,1A. El,1C. Wesp,1Z. Xu,1,2and C. Greiner1
1Institut f¨ ur Theoretische Physik, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universit¨ at,
Max-von-Laue-Str. 1, D-60438 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
2Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies,
Ruth-Moufang-Str. 1, D-60438 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
(Dated: June 22, 2011)
Starting from a classical picture of shear viscosity we construct a stationary veloc-
ity gradient in a microscopic parton cascade. Employing the Navier-Stokes ansatz we
extract the shear viscosity coefficient η. For elastic isotropic scatterings we find an
excellent agreement with the analytic values. This confirms the applicability of this
method. Furthermore for both elastic and inelastic scatterings with pQCD based
cross sections we extract the shear viscosity coefficient η for a pure gluonic system
and find a good agreement with already published calculations.
PACS numbers: 47.75.+f, 12.38.Mh, 25.75.-q, 66.20.-d
Recent results of the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) and of the Large Hadron
Collider (LHC) indicate the formation of a new state of matter, the quark-gluon plasma
(QGP), in relativistic heavy-ion collisions. The large value of the elliptic flow coefficient
v2observed in these experiments [1–4] leads to the indication that the QGP behaves like
a nearly perfect fluid. This has been confirmed by calculations of viscous hydrodynamics
[5–11] and microscopic transport calculations [12, 13]. However, the shear viscosity coeffi-
cient η has a finite value, possibly close to the conjectured lower bound η/s = 1/4π from
the correspondence between conformal field theory and string theory in an Anti-de-Sitter
space . In comparison to ideal hydrodynamic calculations , dissipative hydrodynamic
formalisms with finite η/s ratio [5–11] demonstrate a better agreement of the differential
elliptic flow v2(pt) with experimental data. The shear viscosity is therefore an important
parameter in viscous hydrodynamics but needs to be calculated from microscopic theory.
The η/s ratio was obtained in a full leading order pertubative QCD calculation in
Ref. . The Boltzmann-Vlasov equation and quasi-particle picture were recently em-
ployed to calculate the η/s ratio of a gluon gas in Ref. . The shear viscosity coefficient
has also been extracted from microscopic transport calculations with BAMPS (Boltzmann
Approach of Multi Parton Scatterings) simulations [18, 19] using expressions based on a
first-order gradient expansion of the Boltzmann Equation  and the entropy principle
underlying the second-order Israel-Stewart hydrodynamics .
The goal of this work is to extract the shear viscosity coefficient η numerically from
microscopic calculations using a standard setup motivated by the classical textbook picture
[22, 23]. In Fig. 1 we introduce a particle system embedded between two plates. The two
FIG. 1: The classical definition of shear viscosity. Two plates moving in opposite directions with
velocity ±vwall. A flow gradient is established between the plates. The viscosity is proportional to
the frictional force.
plates move in opposite directions each with velocity vwallin z-direction. The moving walls
are supplemented by two thermal reservoirs with ±vwall. In x-direction the system has an
extension of size L. In y- and z-direction the system is homogeneous and can be of infinite
size. The mean free path of the particles should be very small compared to the system size,
i.e. λmfp<< L. On a sufficiently long time-scale a stationary velocity field vz(x) should be
established. In the non-relativistic limit the velocity field is linear. With the Navier-Stokes-
ansatz the shear stress tensor πµνis proportional to the gradient of the velocity
The proportionality factor is defined to be the shear viscosity coefficient η.In Sec. II
we give basic definitions and information on the numerical model we use. In Sec. III we
demonstrate that Eq. (1) does not hold in general for the relativistic case, where the gradient
is not necessarily linear and we discuss the shape of an ideal relativistic velocity gradient.
Furthermore we will discuss the effect of viscosity and finite size effects on the velocity profile
in Sec. III, where an analytical formulation for the shape of the velocity profile is derived. We
employ BAMPS to reproduce the velocity gradient as discussed in this chapter. In Sec. IV
we compare the numerical results for the shear viscosity coefficient η to an analytical value
in order to confirm the applicability of our method. Finally we present the results on
shear viscosity to entropy density ratio obtained from BAMPS with cross sections based on
pertubative quantum chromodynamics (pQCD) and compare them to existing calculations.
We close with a summary.
II. BASIC IDEA AND DEFINITIONS
When systems are in stationary states, the first-order Navier-Stokes formulation of rela-
tivistic viscous hydrodynamics can be used to calculate the shear viscosity η, which is the
proportionality factor between the shear tensor πµν= T?µν?and the velocity gradient ∇?µuν?:
where the projection
denotes the symmetric traceless part of the tensor Bµν. ∆µν= gµν− uµuνis the transverse
projection operator and the metric is gµν= diag(1,−1,−1,−1).
Some definitions are in order. We use the Landau’s definition of the hydrodynamic four-
where n = gT3/π2is the density in the local rest frame.
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