Treatment of dilute clusters of methanol and water by ab initio quantum mechanical calculations.

The journal of physical chemistry. A

PubMedID: 16838951

Ruckenstein E, Shulgin IL, Tilson JL. Treatment of dilute clusters of methanol and water by ab initio quantum mechanical calculations. J Phys Chem A. 2005;109(5):807-15.
Large molecular clusters can be considered as intermediate states between gas and condensed phases, and information about them can help us understand condensed phases. In this paper, ab initio quantum mechanical methods have been used to examine clusters formed of methanol and water molecules. The main goal was to obtain information about the intermolecular interactions and the structure of methanol/water clusters at the molecular level. The large clusters (CH(4)O...(H(2)O)(12) and H(2)O...(CH(4)O)(10)) containing one molecule of one component (methanol or water) and many (12, 10) molecules of the other component were considered. Møller-Plesset perturbation theory (MP2) was used in the calculations. Several representative cluster geometries were optimized, and nearest-neighbor interaction energies were calculated for the geometries obtained in the first step. The results of the calculations were compared to the available experimental information regarding the liquid methanol/water mixtures and to the molecular dynamics and Monte Carlo simulations, and good agreement was found. For the CH(4)O...(H(2)O)(12) cluster, it was shown that the molecules of water can be subdivided into two classes: (i) H bonded to the central methanol molecule and (ii) not H bonded to the central methanol molecule. As expected, these two classes exhibited striking energy differences. Although they are located almost the same distance from the carbon atom of the central methanol molecule, they possess very different intermolecular interaction energies with the central molecule. The H bonding constitutes a dominant factor in the hydration of methanol in dilute aqueous solutions. For the H(2)O...(CH(4)O)(10) cluster, it was shown that the central molecule of water has almost three H bonds with the methanol molecules; this result differs from those in the literature that concluded that the average number of H bonds between a central water molecule and methanol molecules in dilute solutions of water in methanol is about two, with the water molecules being incorporated into the chains of methanol. In contrast, the present predictions revealed that the central water molecule is not incorporated into a chain of methanol molecules, but it can be the center of several (2-3) chains of methanol molecules. The molecules of methanol, which are not H bonded to the central water molecule, have characteristics similar to those of the methane molecules around a central water molecule in the H(2)O...(CH(4))(10) cluster. The ab initio quantum mechanical methods employed in this paper have provided detailed information about the H bonds in the clusters investigated. In particular, they provided full information about two types of H bonds between water and methanol molecules (in which the water or the methanol molecule is the proton donor), including information about their energies and lengths. The average numbers of the two types of H bonds in the CH(4)O...(H(2)O)(12) and H(2)O...(CH(4)O)(10) clusters have been calculated. Such information could hardly be obtained with the simulation methods.