Ion mobility and clustering of sodium hydroxybenzoates in aqueous solutions: a molecular dynamics simulation study

J Gujt and C Podlipnik and M Bester-Rogac and E Spohr, PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY CHEMICAL PHYSICS, 16, 19314-19326 (2014).

DOI: 10.1039/c4cp02425g

The relative position of the hydroxylic and the carboxylic group in the isomeric hydroxybenzoate (HB) anions is known to have a large impact on transport properties of this species. It also influences crucially the self-organisation of cationic surfactants. In this article a systematic investigation of aqueous solutions of the ortho, meta, and para isomers of the HB anion is presented. Molecular dynamics simulations of all three HB isomers were conducted for two different concentrations at 298.15 K and using two separate water models. From the resulting trajectories we calculated the self-diffusion coefficient of each isomer. According to the calculated self-diffusion coefficients, isomers were ranked in the order o-HB > m-HB > p-HB at both concentrations for both the used SPC and SPC/E water models, which agrees very well with the experiment. The structural analysis revealed that at lower concentration, where the tendency for dimerisation or cluster formation is low, hydrogen bonding with water determines the mobility of the HB anion. o-HB forms the least hydrogen bonds and is therefore the most mobile, and p-HB, which forms the most hydrogen bonds with water, is the least mobile isomer. At higher concentration the formation of clusters also needs to be considered. The ortho isomer predominantly forms dimers with 2 hydrogen bonds per dimer between one OH and one carboxylate group of each anion. m-HB mostly forms clusters of sizes around 5 and p-HB forms clusters of sizes even larger than 10, which can be either rings or chains.

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