Interplay between structure and transport properties of molten salt mixtures of ZnCl2-NaCl-KCl: A molecular dynamics study

VR Manga and N Swinteck and S Bringuier and P Lucas and P Deymier and K Muralidharan, JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL PHYSICS, 144, 094501 (2016).

DOI: 10.1063/1.4942588

Molten mixtures of network-forming covalently bonded ZnCl2 and network- modifying ionically bonded NaCl and KCl salts are investigated as high- temperature heat transfer fluids for concentrating solar power plants. Specifically, using molecular dynamics simulations, the interplay between the extent of the network structure, composition, and the transport properties (viscosity, thermal conductivity, and diffusion) of ZnCl2-NaCl-KCl molten salts is characterized. The Stokes-Einstein/Eyring relationship is found to break down in these network-forming liquids at high concentrations of ZnCl2 (>63 mol. %), while the Eyring relationship is seen with increasing KCl concentration. Further, the network modification due to the addition of K ions leads to formation of non- bridging terminal Cl ions, which in turn lead to a positive temperature dependence of thermal conductivity in these melts. This new understanding of transport in these ternary liquids enables the identification of appropriate concentrations of the network formers and network modifiers to design heat transfer fluids with desired transport properties for concentrating solar power plants. (C) 2016 AIP Publishing LLC.

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