This article reviews recent molecular simulation studies of "collective"properties of aqueous electrolyte solutions, specifically free energies and activity coefficients, solubilities, nucleation rates of crystals, and transport coefficients. These are important fundamental properties for biology and geoscience, but also relevant for many technological applications. Their determination from molecular-scale calculations requires large systems and long sampling times, as well as specialized sampling algorithms. As a result, such properties have not typically been taken into account during optimization of force field parameters; thus, they provide stringent tests for the transferability and range of applicability of proposed molecular models. There has been significant progress on simulation algorithms to enable the determination of these properties with good statistical uncertainties. Comparisons of simulation results to experimental data reveal deficiencies shared by many commonly used models. Moreover, there appear to exist specific tradeoffs within existing modeling frameworks so that good prediction of some properties is linked to poor prediction for specific other properties. For example, non-polarizable models that utilize full charges on the ions generally fail to predict accurately both activity coefficients and solubilities; the concentration dependence of viscosity and diffusivity for these models is also incorrect. Scaled-charge models improve the dynamic properties and could also perform well for solubilities but fail in the prediction of nucleation rates. Even models that do well at room temperature for some properties generally fail to capture their experimentally observed temperature dependence. The main conclusion from the present review is that qualitatively new physics will need to be incorporated in future models of electrolyte solutions to allow the description of collective properties for broad ranges of concentrations, temperatures, and solvent conditions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy(all)
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry