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Title:Probing the Structures of Hydrated Nafion in Different Morphologies Using Temperature Accelerated Molecular Dynamics Simulations
Authors:Lucid, Jeremy, Simone Meloni, Donal MacKernan, Eckhard Spohr, and Giovanni Ciccotti, 2013
Abstract: We perform combined temperature-accelerated and standard molecular dynamics (MD) simulations to elucidate the atomistic structure of hydrated Nafion (hydration level λ = 6.5) in the slab and cylinder morphologies. Our samples are initially made of elongated Nafion strands with a relatively small fraction of gauche defects. Our simulations show that even very long (>50 ns) “brute force” MD simulations are insufficient to reach equilibrated structures. In fact, 30–40 ns long temperature-accelerated molecular dynamics (TAMD) simulations started from the same initial conditions explore more stable (lower potential energy) stationary structures. The effect of TAMD is to allow a rearrangement of the backbone consisting of an increase in gauche defects, which cannot be obtained by “brute force” MD because the trans–gauche transition is a rare event at room temperature. Associated with the backbone rearrangement, we observe a change in the structure of the water layers/tubes as measured by the size and number of bulk (four-fold coordinated water molecules) and surface-like water clusters. At equilibrium, the mean size of bulk-like water clusters is small, typically between 10 and 20 molecules, depending on the morphology. Larger clusters are also present in our samples, the largest being made of 350 molecules, but even the latter is too small for percolation. This suggests that the proton transport through each morphology might be a two-step process: Grotthuss-like within bulk-like water clusters and of a different type (e.g., diffusive or even transport across fluctuatively opening necks) between clusters.
ICHEC Project:Nanoscale thermal transport
Publication:The Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 2013, 117 (2), pp 774–782
URL: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jp309038n
Status: Published

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