Molecular Dynamics Simulations of Adsorption of Catechol and Related Phenolic Compounds to Alumina Surfaces

IC Yeh and JL Lenhart and BC Rinderspacher, JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY C, 119, 7721-7731 (2015).

DOI: 10.1021/jp512780s

We performed atomistically detailed molecular dynamics simulations to study adsorption behaviors of catechol, which is a key functional group in marine bioadhesives, to two different alumina surfaces in both anhydrous and aqueous conditions. In anhydrous conditions, without competing interactions from water molecules, catechol adsorbed to both hydroxylated and nonhydroxylated alumina surfaces. In aqueous conditions, catechol and several analogous phenolic compounds displaced water molecules and were strongly attracted to the nonhydroxylated alumina surface, which is more hydrophobic. When comparing the phenolic moieties near the hydroxylated alumina surface in aqueous conditions, the catechol molecules displayed the strongest adsorptions mainly through cooperative hydrogen bonding interactions of two neighboring hydroxyl groups with the surface hydroxyl groups of alumina as evidenced by the longer hydrogen bonding lifetimes and the larger number of adsorbed molecules near the surface. Insights gained from this study can be used in design of novel bioadhesives or antifouling surface coatings.

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