Assignment Zero

Graduate level research requires you to be able to think independently and solve problems that are open-ended or underconstrained. The purpose of this assignment is to give you experience solving research-like problems. It is also to help you determine whether graduate level research in computational solid mechanics is a good fit for you.

Everything you need to complete this project is available, but it is up to you to figure it out. There are only two rules: (1) no plagiarism, and (2) you may not ask Dr. Runnels for help.

Assignment Statement

Compute the energy and structure of a grain boundary in an FCC material using molecular dynamics. Present your results in a report written in LaTeX. The report does not need to be long, but it should be written in proper scientific style, contain publication quality figures, and should cite relevant sources.


  1. LAMMPS is a free, open source, molecular dynamics simulation package.

  2. OVITO is a useful tool for visualizing atomic structures.

  3. LaTeX is a document processing software. Overleaf is an online implementation of LaTeX.

Depending on your level of prior experience this project can take as little as a couple hours or as long as a couple weeks.

Good luck!