Atomistic Potentials for Trisiloxane, Alkyl Ethoxylate, and Perfluoroalkane-Based Surfactants with TIP4P/2005 and Application to Simulations at the Air-Water Interface

RE Isele-Holder and AE Ismail, JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY B, 118, 9284-9297 (2014).

DOI: 10.1021/jp502975p

The mechanism of superspreading, the greatly enhanced spreading of water droplets facilitated by trisiloxane surfactants, is still under debate, largely because the role and behavior of the surfactants cannot be sufficiently resolved by experiments or continuum simulations. Previous molecular dynamics studies have been performed with simple model molecules or inaccurate models, strongly limiting their explanatory power. Here we present a force field dedicated to superspreading, extending existing quantum-chemistry-based models for the surfactant and the TIP4P/2005 water model (Abascal et al. J. Chem. Phys., 2005, 123, 234505). We apply the model to superspreading trisiloxane surfactants and nonsuperspreading alkyl ethoxylate and perfluoroalkane surfactants at various concentrations at the air water interface. We show that the developed model accurately predicts surface tensions, which are typically assumed important for superspreading. Significant differences between superspreading and traditional surfactants are presented and their possible relation to superspreading discussed. Although the force field has been developed for superspreading problems, it should also perform well for other simulations involving polymers or copolymers with water.

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