We compute individual ion activity coefficients (IIACs) in aqueous NaCl, KCl, NaF, and KF solutions from explicit-water molecular dynamics simulations. Free energy changes are obtained from insertion of single ions - accompanied by uniform neutralizing backgrounds - into solution by gradually turning on first Lennard-Jones interactions, followed by Coulombic interactions using Ewald electrostatics. Simulations are performed at multiple system sizes, and all results are extrapolated to the thermodynamic limit, thus eliminating any possible artifacts from the neutralizing backgrounds. Because of controversies associated with measurements of IIACs from electrochemical cells with ion-selective electrodes, the reported experimental data are not widely accepted; thus there remains a knowledge gap with respect to the contributions of individual ions to solution nonidealities. Our results are in good qualitative agreement with these reported measurements, though significantly larger in magnitude. In particular, the relative positioning for the activity coefficients of anions and cations matches the experimental ordering for all four systems. This work establishes a robust thermodynamic framework, without a need to invoke extra hypotheses, that sheds light on the behavior of individual ions and their contributions to nonidealities of aqueous electrolyte solutions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Chemistry
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry