Effects of substrate structure and composition on the structure, dynamics, and energetics of water at mineral surfaces: A molecular dynamics modeling study

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Molecular dynamics computer simulations of the molecular structure, diffusive dynamics and hydration energetics of water adsorbed on (001) surfaces of brucite Mg(OH)2, gibbsite Al(OH)3, hydrotalcite Mg2Al(OH)6Cl ·2H2O, muscovite KAl2(Si3Al)O10 (OH2, and talc Mg3Si4O10 (OH2 provide new insight into the relationships between the substrate structure and composition and the molecular-scale structure and properties of the interfacial water. For the three hydroxide phases studied here, the differences in the structural charge on the octahedral sheet, cation occupancies and distributions, and the orientations of OH groups all affect the surface water structure. The density profiles of water molecules perpendicular to the surface are very similar, due to the prevalent importance of H-bonding between the surface and the water and to their similar layered crystal structures. However, the predominant orientations of the surface water molecules and the detailed two-dimensional near-surface structure are quite different. The atomic density profiles and other structural characteristics of water at the two sheet silicate surfaces are very different, because the talc (001) surface is hydrophobic whereas the muscovite (001) surface is hydrophilic. At the hydrophilic and electrostatically neutral brucite and gibbsite (001) surfaces, both donating and accepting H-bonds from the H2O molecules are important for the development of a continuous hydrogen bonding network across the interfacial region. For the hydrophilic but charged hydrotalcite and muscovite (001) surfaces, only accepting or donating H-bonds from the water molecules contribute to the formation of the H-bonding network at the negatively and positively charged interfaces, respectively. For the hydrophobic talc (001) surface, H-bonds between water molecules and the surface sites are very weak, and the H-bonds among H2O molecules dominate the interfacial H-bonding network. For all the systems studied, the orientation of the interfacial water molecules in the first few layers is influenced by both the substrate surface charge and the ability by the surfaces to facilitate H-bond formation. The first layer of water molecules at all surfaces is well ordered in the xy plane (parallel to the surface) and the atomic density distributions reflect the substrate crystal structure. The enhanced ordering of water molecules at the interfaces indicates reduced orientational and translational entropy. In thin films, water molecules are more mobile parallel to the surface than perpendicular to it due to spatial constraints. At neutral, hydrophilic substrates, single-monolayer surface coverage stabilizes the adsorbed water molecules and results in a minimum of the surface hydration energy. In contrast, at the charged and hydrophilic muscovite surface, the hydration energy increases monotonically with increasing water coverage over the range of coverages studied. At the neutral and hydrophobic talc surface, the adsorption of H2O is unfavorable at all surface coverages, and the hydration energy decreases monotonically with increasing coverage. © 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta

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