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Title: Ion Association in AlCl3 Aqueous Solutions from Constrained First-Principles Molecular Dynamics

Ab initio molecular dynamics was used to investigate the ion pairing behavior between Cl- and the Al3+ ion in an aqueous AlCl3 solution containing 63 water molecules. A series of constrained simulations was carried out at 300 K for up to 16 ps each, by fixing the inter-nuclear separation (rAl-Cl) between the Al3+ ion and one of the Cl- ions. The calculated potential of mean force of the Al3+-Cl- ion pair shows a pronounced minimum at rAl-Cl = 2.3 Å corresponding to a contact ion pair (CIP). Two local minima assigned to solvent separated ion pairs (SSIP) are identified at rAl-Cl= 4.4 and 6.0 Å. The positions of the free energy minima coincide with the hydration shell intervals of the Al3+ cation suggesting that the Cl- ion is inclined to reside in regions of low concentration of waters, i.e. between the 1st and 2nd shells of Al3+ and between the 2nd shell and bulk. A detailed analysis of solvent structure around the Al3+ and Cl- ions as a function of rAl-Cl is presented. The results are compared to structure data from X-ray measurements and unconstrained AIMD simulations of single ions Al3+ and Cl- and AlCl3 solutions. The dipole moment ofmore » the water molecules inside the 1st and 2nd hydration shells of Al3+ and in the bulk region and those of the Clion were calculated as a function of rAl-Cl. Major changes in the electronic structure of the system result from the removal of Cl- from the 1st hydration shell of the Al3+ cation. Finally, two unconstrained AIMD simulations of aqueous AlCl3 solutions corresponding to CIP and SSIP configurations were performed (17 ps, 300 K). Only minor structural changes are observed in these systems, confirming their stability.« less
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0020--1669; 39395; KJ0402000
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Inorganic Chemistry, 51(20):10856-10869; Journal Volume: 51; Journal Issue: 20
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US), Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
ion; aqueous; ab initio; molecular; dynamics; hydration; solvent; Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory