Evaluation of force fields for molecular simulation of polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxanes

Tudor C. Ionescu, Feng Qi, Clare McCabe*, Alberto Striolo, John Kieffer, Peter T. Cummings

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Citations (Scopus)


Polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxanes (POSS) are nanometer-size molecules suitable for the production of organic-inorganic nanocomposite materials. These organic-inorganic nano-building blocks show promise for enabling the production of polymeric materials of exceptional mechanical properties as well as novel composite materials. While the experimental studies of these materials have rapidly evolved in the past decade, their theoretical investigation is still in its infancy. Toward the validation of force fields for the molecular simulation of POSS-containing systems, we present the charge-transfer reactive (CTR) force field for the molecular simulation of polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxane (POSS) molecules and compare the ability of this, and several force fields taken from the literature, to predict the thermophysical properties of POSS-containing systems. The literature force fields compared include the universal force field (UFF) and the COMPASS and Hybrid-COMPASS force fields. Predictions from molecular dynamics simulations of the structural parameters (unit cell vectors), melting temperature, and FT-IR spectra of crystals of POSS monomers are presented. The POSS monomers investigated are octahydride, octamethyl, and octapropyl POSS. Predicted quantities are compared to experimental results where available and provide molecular-level physical insight into several aspects of the behavior of POSS molecules. While all the force fields tested perform reasonably well, our results indicate that the Hybrid-COMPASS and CTR force fields predict structural properties that are in good agreement with experimental data.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2502-2510
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry


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