Quantum molecular dynamics simulations of the oxidation of aluminum-cyclopentadienyl clusters
Hooper, Joseph P.
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We report Car-Parrinello molecular dynamics simulations of the oxidation of aluminum-cyclopentadienyl clusters currently being considered as novel fuels or energetic materials. These clusters contain a small aluminum core surrounded by a single organic ligand layer. The aromatic cyclopentadienyl ligands form a very strong bond with surface Al atoms, giving rise to a stable organometallic cluster which crystallizes into a low-symmetry solid-state material. Our calculations of an isolated cluster in oxygen show minimal reaction between the ligand and oxygen molecules at simulation temperatures of 300 and 1000 K. Rather, in all cases O2 diffuses through the ligand barrier, splits into atomic oxygen upon contact with the aluminum, and forms an amorphous aluminum oxide core. Loss of aluminum-ligand units, as expected from bond strength calculations, is not observed except following significant oxidation. We present simple metrics to quantitatively compare the steric barrier of the outer ligands that limits the oxidation process.
The article of record as published may be located at http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/1742-6596/500/17/172001
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