Modeling Chemical Reactions in Classical Molecular Dynamics Simulations

Jacob Gissinger(1); Benjamin Jensen(2); Kristopher Wise(2)

1. University of Colorado-Boulder, Boulder, CO, US
2. NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA, US

An algorithm capable of incorporating multi-step reaction mechanisms into atomistic molecular dynamics (MD) simulations using traditional fixed valence force fields is proposed and implemented within the framework of LAMMPS. This extension, referred to as fix bond/react, enables bonding topology modifications during a running MD simulation using pre-and post-reaction bonding templates to carry out a pre-specified reaction. Candidate reactants are first identified by interatomic separation, followed by the application of a generalized topology matching algorithm to confirm they match the pre-reaction template. This is followed by a topology conversion to match the post-reaction template and a dynamic relaxation to minimize high energy configurations. Two case studies, the condensation polymerization of nylon 6,6 and the formation of a highly-crosslinked epoxy, are simulated to demonstrate the robustness, stability, and speed of the algorithm. Improvements which could increase its utility are discussed.