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Rate of homogeneous crystal nucleation in molten NaCl

By C. Valeriani, E. Sanz and D. Frenkel


We report a numerical simulation of the rate of crystal nucleation of sodium chloride from its melt at moderate supercooling. In this regime nucleation is too slow to be studied with "brute force" molecular-dynamics simulations. The melting temperature of ("Tosi Fumi") NaCl is ~1060 K. We studied crystal nucleation at T=800 and 825 K. We observe that the critical nucleus formed during the nucleation process has the crystal structure of bulk NaCl. Interestingly, the critical nucleus is clearly faceted, the nuclei have a cubical shape. We have computed the crystal-nucleation rate using two completely different approaches, one based on an estimate of the rate of diffusive crossing of the nucleation barrier, the other based on the forward flux sampling and transition interface sampling methods. We find that the two methods yield the same result within an order of magnitude. However, when we compare the extrapolated simulation data with the only available experimental results for NaCl nucleation, we observe a discrepancy of nearly five orders of magnitude. We discuss the possible causes for this discrepancy

Topics: Scheikunde
Year: 2005
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