Development of a ReaxFF potential for carbon condensed phases and its application to the thermal fragmentation of a large fullerene

Sriram Goverapet Srinivasan, Adri C.T. Van Duin, P. Ganesh

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(Figure Presented) In this article, we report the development of a ReaxFF reactive potential that can accurately describe the chemistry and dynamics of carbon condensed phases. Density functional theory (DFT)-based calculations were performed to obtain the equation of state for graphite and diamond and the formation energies of defects in graphene and amorphous phases from fullerenes. The DFT data were used to reparametrize ReaxFFCHO, resulting in a new potential called ReaxFFC-2013. ReaxFFC-2013 accurately predicts the atomization energy of graphite and closely reproduces the DFT-based energy difference between graphite and diamond, and the barrier for transition from graphite to diamond. ReaxFFC-2013 also accurately predicts the DFT-based energy barrier for Stone - Wales transformation in a C60(Ih) fullerene through the concerted rotation of a C2 unit. Later, MD simulations of a C180 fullerene using ReaxFFC-2013 suggested that the thermal fragmentation of these giant fullerenes is an exponential function of time. An Arrhenius-type equation was fit to the decay rate, giving an activation energy of 7.66 eV for the loss of carbon atoms from the fullerene. Although the decay of the molecule occurs primarily via the loss of C2 units, we observed that, with an increase in temperature, the probability of loss of larger fragments increases. The ReaxFFC-2013 potential developed in this work, and the results obtained on fullerene fragmentation, provide an important step toward the full computational chemical modeling of coal pyrolysis, soot incandescence, high temperature erosion of graphitic rocket nozzles, and ablation of carbon-based spacecraft materials during atmospheric reentry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)571-580
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry A
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 29 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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