A coarse-grained model for amorphous and crystalline fatty acids

K. R. Hadley, C. McCabe*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Fatty acids constitute one of the main components of the lipid lamellae in the top layer of the skin, known as the stratum corneum, which acts as a barrier to foreign substances entering the body and to water leaving the body. To better understand the mechanics of the skin, a molecular-level understanding of the structure of the lamellae needs to be investigated. As a first step toward this goal, the current work involves the development of a coarse-grained model for fatty acids in an amorphous and a crystalline state. In order to retain the structural details of the atomistic molecules, radial distribution functions have been used to provide target data against which the coarse-grained force field is optimized. The optimization was achieved using the method developed by Reith, Pütz, and Müller-Plathe with a damping factor introduced into the updating scheme to facilitate the convergence against the crystalline radial distribution functions. Using this approach, a transferable force field has been developed for both crystalline and amorphous systems that can be used to describe fatty acids of different chain lengths. We are unaware of any other coarse-grained model in the literature that has been developed to study solid phases. Additionally, the amorphous force field has been shown to accurately model mixtures of different free fatty acids based on the potentials derived from pure lipid systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number134505
JournalThe Journal of Chemical Physics
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 7 Apr 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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