The interface between water and a hydrophobic gas

Stewart K. Reed, Robin E. Westacott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


Classical molecular dynamics simulations have been performed to investigate the interface between liquid water and methane gas under methane hydrate forming conditions. The local environments of the water molecules were studied using order parameters which distinguish between liquid water, ice and methane hydrate phases. Bulk water and water/air interfaces were also studied to allow comparisons to be made between water molecules in the different environments and to determine the effects of the different methane densities studied. Good agreement between experimental and calculated surface tensions is obtained if long range corrections are included. The water surface is found to have a structure which is very similar to that of bulk water, but more tetrahedral, and more clathrate-like than ice-like. In these simulations the concentration of methane in water at the interface is shown to be appropriate for clathrates at higher gas densities (pressures). The orientation of water molecules around methane molecules in the interfacial region appears to depend only weakly on pressure and one of the difficulties in forming hydrate is the availability of water molecules tangential to the hydrate cage. At the interface, the water structure is more disordered than in the bulk water region with increased occurrence compared with the bulk of those angles and orientations found in the clathrate structure. © the Owner Societies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4614-4622
Number of pages9
JournalPhysical Chemistry Chemical Physics
Issue number31
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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