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WSU Access

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name



Physics and Astronomy

First Advisor

Sean Gavin


This dissertation builds a framework for the incorporation of the effects of a first-order deconfinement phase transition in relativistic heavy ion collisions. An observable denoted by the symbol O useful to quantify the expected increase in net baryon number fluctuations---as a result of this phase transition---is proposed and examined. Values of O in the absence of such a transition are presented. Methods adapted from condensed matter physics are combined with techniques from dissipative relativistic fluid dynamics to derive a covariant version of the Cahn-Hilliard equation. This equation is then solved numerically (mainly for Bjorken-type collisions exhibiting Bjorken longitudinal expansion) for a variety of scenarios and initial conditions. The essential finding of this thesis is that the deconfinement transition has the potential to elevate O from negative to positive values. Finally, suggestions for further refinement are presented.

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