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Computer simulation of crystal-liquid interface: application to wettability of solids

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date07/1996
JournalPharmaceutical research
Journal number7
Volume13
Number of pages5
Pages1003-1007
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Purpose. This study describes the development and application of a molecular simulation technique for investigating the solid-liquid interface. It attempts to relate the molecular and crystal structure to the observed wettability of solids.

Method Molecular simulations have been carried out for the crystal-water interface of a series of N-n-alkyl-D-gluconamide crystals using the Monte Carlo technique. The molecular system simulated consisted of a layer of water bounded by two crystal slabs. The interfacial potential energies were calculated for the crystal-water interactions and compared with experimental enthalpy values obtained from contact angle measurements.

Results. The simulations clearly reveal the distinct hydrophilic and hydrophobic nature of the respective (010) and (0(1) over bar0$) faces of these compounds. The distribution of water at the interface observed in the simulations is in accord with the nature of the crystal faces. The calculated interfacial potential energies are in the right ball park, but consistently higher than the experimental values. The disparity, however, is justifiable, resulting from the highly simplified model simulated.

Conclusions. Using the developed molecular simulation technique one can calculate the wettability of a solid given the crystal structure. This approach represents an important step towards the goal of engineering crystals with desired wettability characteristics.