Construction of the interface potential from a series of canonical ensemble simulations

K Jain and AJ Schultz and JR Errington, JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL PHYSICS, 151, 044103 (2019).

DOI: 10.1063/1.5110922

We introduce a method to construct the interface potential from a series of molecular dynamics simulations conducted within the canonical ensemble. The interface potential provides the surface excess free energy associated with the growth of a fluid film from a surface. We collect the force that the fluid exerts on the surface (disjoining pressure) at a series of film thicknesses. These force data are then integrated to obtain the interface potential. Spreading and drying versions of the general approach are considered. The spreading approach focuses on the growth of a thin liquid film from a solid substrate in a mother vapor. The drying approach focuses on the growth of a thin vapor film on a solid substrate in a mother liquid. The methods provide a means to compute the contact angle of a fluid droplet in contact with the surface. The general method is applied to two model systems: (1) a monatomic Lennard-Jones fluid in contact with atomistically detailed face centered cubic (FCC) substrate and (2) TIP4P/2005 water in contact with a rigid silica surface. For the Lennard-Jones model system, we generate results with both the drying and spreading methods at various temperatures and substrate strengths. These results are compared to those from previous simulation studies. For the water system, the drying method is used to obtain wetting properties over a range of temperatures. The water system also highlights challenges associated with application of the spreading method within the framework pursued here.

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