Density Fluctuation in Aqueous Solutions and Molecular Origin of Salting-Out Effect for CO2

TA Ho and A Ilgen, JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY B, 121, 11485-11491 (2017).

DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcb.7b09215

Using molecular dynamics simulation, we studied the density fluctuations and cavity formation probabilities in aqueous solutions and their effect on the hydration of CO2. With increasing salt concentration, we report an increased probability of observing a larger than the average number of species in the probe volume. Our energetic analyses indicate that the van der Waals and electrostatic interactions between CO2 and aqueous solutions become more favorable with increasing salt concentration, favoring the solubility of CO2 (salting in). However, due to the decreasing number of cavities forming when salt concentration is increased, the solubility of CO2 decreases. The formation of cavities was found to be the primary control on the dissolution of gas, and is responsible for the observed CO2 salting-out effect. Our results provide the fundamental understanding of the density fluctuation in aqueous solutions and the molecular origin of the salting-out effect for real gas.

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