Communication: A method to compute the transport coefficient of pure fluids diffusing through planar interfaces from equilibrium molecular dynamics simulations

R Vermorel and F Oulebsir and G Galliero, JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL PHYSICS, 147, 101102 (2017).

DOI: 10.1063/1.4997865

The computation of diffusion coefficients in molecular systems ranks among the most useful applications of equilibrium molecular dynamics simulations. However, when dealing with the problem of fluid diffusion through vanishingly thin interfaces, classical techniques are not applicable. This is because the volume of space in which molecules diffuse is ill-defined. In such conditions, non-equilibrium techniques allow for the computation of transport coefficients per unit interface width, but their weak point lies in their inability to isolate the contribution of the different physical mechanisms prone to impact the flux of permeating molecules. In this work, we propose a simple and accurate method to compute the diffusional transport coefficient of a pure fluid through a planar interface from equilibrium molecular dynamics simulations, in the form of a diffusion coefficient per unit interface width. In order to demonstrate its validity and accuracy, we apply our method to the case study of a dilute gas diffusing through a smoothly repulsive single-layer porous solid. We believe this complementary technique can benefit to the interpretation of the results obtained on single-layer membranes by means of complex non-equilibrium methods. Published by AIP Publishing.

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