Liquid-Liquid Separation of Aqueous Solutions: A Molecular Dynamics Study

Last update: June 13, 2019

A new research paper of our group has been published.


Takuma Yagasaki, Masakazu Matsumoto, and Hideki Tanaka 

Liquid-Liquid Separation of Aqueous Solutions: A Molecular Dynamics Study 

J. Chem. Phys. 150, 214506 (2019).

[ DOI: 10.1063/1.5096429]


In the liquid-liquid phase transition scenario, supercooled water separates into the high density liquid (HDL) and low density liquid (LDL) phases at temperatures lower than the second critical point. We investigate the effects of hydrophilic and hydrophobic solutes on the liquid-liquid phase transition using molecular dynamics simulations. It is found that a supercooled aqueous NaCl solution separates into solute-rich HDL and solute-poor LDL parts at low pressures. By contrast, a supercooled aqueous Ne solution separates into solute-rich LDL and solute-poor HDL parts at high pressures. Both the solutes increase the high temperature limit of the liquid-liquid separation. The degree of separation is quantified using the local density of solute particles to determine the liquid-liquid coexistence region in the pressure-temperature phase diagram. The effects of NaCl and Ne on the phase diagram of supercooled water are explained in terms of preferential solvation of ions in HDL and that of small hydrophobic particles in LDL, respectively.