How can we detect hydrogen bond local cooperativity in liquid water: A simulation study

Authors: Imre Bakó, Anikó Lábas, Kersti Hermansson, Ákos Bencsura and Julianna Oláh

The significant cooperative effect between water molecules substantially affects the properties of liquid water. The cooperativity of hydrogen bonds means that the hydrogen bond strength is influenced by the neighboring water molecules. Another descriptor related to cooperativity is degree correlation (or static correlation) describing the probability of hydrogen-bonded molecule pairs participating in additional hydrogen-bonds. Herein we analyze the latter one in liquid water at various temperatures and densities in a series of molecular dynamics simulations with the help of knowledge from network science. We investigated how the applied hydrogen bond criteria (energetic or geometric) influence the obtained results, and showed that the energetic criterion is much more rigorous and reliable, therefore should be used for similar studies. We found that the structure of the subsystems of water molecules with 3 and 4 hydrogen-bonds is distinctly different at low temperature, 3‑hydrogen-bonded water molecules form branched chain structures at all temperature. Deconvolution of the descriptors of the mixing pattern of water molecules according to their donor and acceptor numbers showed that species with complementary hydrogen bonding properties are likely to correlate and form H-bonds with each other, while species with similar H-bond pattern tend to avoid each other. Pearson’s coefficient (global descriptor of the local cooperativity) of the studied networks suggests that at normal density the H-bonded network in liquid water can be described by an uncorrelated network.

Journal of Molecular Liquids, 245, 2017, pp 140-146
DOI: 10.1016/j.molliq.2017.08.023

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