Two-phase simulations are commonly used to evaluate coexistence conditions, interfacial tensions, and other thermodynamic properties associated with first-order phase transitions. Calculation of these properties is often simplified when the interfaces between the two phases are flat or planar. Here, we derive a general thermodynamic criterion for selecting simulation cell dimensions to stabilize planar interfaces in phase-separated fluid-fluid systems with respect to homogeneous, single-phase states. The resulting expression is validated by analyzing the effects of simulation cell dimensions on the formation of planar liquid-vapor interfaces in the Lennard-Jones fluid and in the TIP4P/2005 model of water. We also perform large scale molecular dynamics simulations to study metastable liquid-liquid phase separation in the ST2 and TIP4P/2005 models of water under deeply supercooled conditions. Our simulations confirm the stability of a liquid-liquid interface in ST2, and they demonstrate that the corresponding interface for TIP4P/2005 can be stabilized by judiciously choosing the simulation cell aspect ratio in a manner consistent with the thermodynamic criterion. We posit that this sensitivity to the simulation cell aspect ratio may explain discrepancies between previous studies examining liquid-liquid separation in models of supercooled water.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- General Physics and Astronomy
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry