Structural behavior of aqueous t-butanol solutions from large-scale molecular dynamics simulations

S. D. Overduin, Aurélien Perera, G. N. Patey
2019 Journal of Chemical Physics  
Large-scale molecular dynamics (MD) simulations are reported for aqueous t-butanol (TBA) solutions. The CHARMM generalized force field (CGenFF) for TBA is combined with the TIP4P/2005 model for water. Unlike many other common TBA models, the CGenFF model is miscible with water in all proportions at 300 K. The main purpose of this work is to investigate the existence and nature of microheterogeneous structure in aqueous TBA solutions. Our simulations of large systems (128000 and 256000
more » ... nd 256000 particles) at TBA mole fractions of 0.06 and 0.1 clearly reveal the existence of long-range correlations (> 10 nm) that show significant variations on long time scales (∼ 50 ns). We associate these long-range, slowly varying correlations with the existence of supramolecular, domain-like structures that consist of TBA-rich and water-rich regions. This structure is always present but continually changing in time, giving rise to long-range, slowly varying pair correlation functions. We find that this behavior appears to have little influence on the single particle dynamics; the diffusion coefficients of both TBA and water molecules lie in the usual liquid state regime, and mean square displacements provide no indication of anomalous diffusion. Using our large system simulations, we are able to reliably calculate small angle x-ray scattering (SAXS) and small angle neutron scattering (SANS) spectra, except at very low wave vector, and the results agree well with recent experiments. However, the present paper shows that simulation of the relatively simple TBA/water system remains challenging. This is particularly true if one wishes to obtain properties such as Kirkwood-Buff factors, or scattering functions at low wave vector, which strongly depend on the long-range behavior of the pair correlations.
doi:10.1063/1.5097011 fatcat:zbql2bkdhjb4jndcrvopyxx7ku