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The water-alkane interface at various NaCl salt concentrations : a molecular dynamics study of the readily available force fields.

Underwood, Thomas R. and Greenwell, H. Chris (2018) 'The water-alkane interface at various NaCl salt concentrations : a molecular dynamics study of the readily available force fields.', Scientific reports., 8 . p. 352.


In this study, classical molecular dynamic simulations have been used to examine the molecular properties of the water-alkane interface at various NaCl salt concentrations (up to 3.0 mol/kg). A variety of different force field combinations have been compared against experimental surface/interfacial tension values for the water-vapour, decane-vapour and water-decane interfaces. Six different force fields for water (SPC, SPC/E, TIP3P, TIP3Pcharmm, TIP4P & TIP4P2005), and three further force fields for alkane (TraPPE-UA, CGenFF & OPLS) have been compared to experimental data. CGenFF, OPLS-AA and TraPPE-UA all accurately reproduce the interfacial properties of decane. The TIP4P2005 (four-point) water model is shown to be the most accurate water model for predicting the interfacial properties of water. The SPC/E water model is the best three-point parameterisation of water for this purpose. The CGenFF and TraPPE parameterisations of oil accurately reproduce the interfacial tension with water using either the TIP4P2005 or SPC/E water model. The salinity dependence on surface/interfacial tension is accurately captured using the Smith & Dang parameterisation of NaCl. We observe that the Smith & Dang model slightly overestimates the surface/interfacial tensions at higher salinities (>1.5 mol/kg). This is ascribed to an overestimation of the ion exclusion at the interface.

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Publisher statement:This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. Te images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit © The Author(s) 2017
Date accepted:14 December 2017
Date deposited:12 January 2018
Date of first online publication:10 January 2018
Date first made open access:12 January 2018

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