Stability and Metastability of Bromine Clathrate Polymorphs

AH Nguyen and V Molinero, JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY B, 117, 6330-6338 (2013).

DOI: 10.1021/jp403503d

Clathrate hydrates are crystals in which water forms a network of fully hydrogen-bonded polyhedral cages that contain small guests. Clathrate hydrates occur mostly in two cubic crystal polymorphs, sI and sII. Bromine is one of two guests that yield a hydrate with the tetragonal structure (TS), the topological dual of the Frank-Kasper a phase. There has been a long-standing disagreement on whether bromine hydrate also forms metastable sI and sII crystals. To date there are no data on the thermodynamic range of stability (e.g., the melting temperatures) of the metastable polymorphs. Here we use molecular dynamics simulations with the coarse-grained model of water mW to (i) investigate the thermodynamic stability of the empty and guest-filled the sI, sII, TS, and HS-I hydrate polymorphs, (ii) develop a coarse-grained model of bromine compatible with mW water, and (iii) evaluate the stability of the bromine hydrate polyrnorphs. The mW model predicts the same relative energy of the empty clathrate polyrnorphs and the same phase diagram as a function of water guest interaction than the fully atomistic TIP4P water model. There is a narrow region in water-guest parameter space for which TS is marginally more stable than sI or sII. We parametrize a coarse-grained model of bromine compatible with mW water and use it to determine the order of stability of the bromine hydrate polymorphs. The melting temperatures of the bromine hydrate polymorphs predicted by the coarse-grained model are 281 +/- 1 K for TS, 279 +/- 1 K for sII, and 276 +/- 1 K for sI. The closeness of the melting temperatures supports the plausibility of formation of metastable sII and sI bromine hydrates.

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