Two-state thermodynamics and the possibility of a liquid-liquid phase transition in supercooled TIP4P/2005 water

Rakesh S. Singh, John W. Biddle, Pablo G. Debenedetti, Mikhail A. Anisimov

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Water shows intriguing thermodynamic and dynamic anomalies in the supercooled liquid state. One possible explanation of the origin of these anomalies lies in the existence of a metastable liquid-liquid phase transition (LLPT) between two (high and low density) forms of water. While the anomalies are observed in experiments on bulk and confined water and by computer simulation studies of different water-like models, the existence of a LLPT in water is still debated. Unambiguous experimental proof of the existence of a LLPT in bulk supercooled water is hampered by fast ice nucleation which is a precursor of the hypothesized LLPT. Moreover, the hypothesized LLPT, being metastable, in principle cannot exist in the thermodynamic limit (infinite size, infinite time). Therefore, computer simulations of water models are crucial for exploring the possibility of the metastable LLPT and the nature of the anomalies. In this work, we present new simulation results in the NVT ensemble for one of the most accurate classical molecular models of water, TIP4P/2005. To describe the computed properties and explore the possibility of a LLPT, we have applied two-structure thermodynamics, viewing water as a non-ideal mixture of two interconvertible local structures ("states"). The results suggest the presence of a liquid-liquid critical point and are consistent with the existence of a LLPT in this model for the simulated length and time scales. We have compared the behavior of TIP4P/2005 with other popular water-like models, namely, mW and ST2, and with real water, all of which are well described by two-state thermodynamics. In view of the current debate involving different studies of TIP4P/2005, we discuss consequences of metastability and finite size in observing the liquid-liquid separation. We also address the relationship between the phenomenological order parameter of two-structure thermodynamics and the microscopic nature of the low-density structure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number144504
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number14
StatePublished - Apr 14 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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