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Issue 23, 2017
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Lifshitz phase: the microscopic structure of aqueous and ethanol mixtures of 1,n-diols

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Abstract

We study binary mixtures of ethylene glycol and 1,3-propandiol with water or ethanol using computer simulations. Despite strong hydrogen bonding tendencies between all these molecules, we find that these mixtures are surprisingly homogeneous, in contrast to the strong micro-heterogeneity found in aqueous ethanol mixtures. The aqueous diol mixtures are found to be close to ideal mixtures, with near-ideal Kirkwood–Buff integrals. Ethanol–diol mixtures show weak non-ideality. The origin of this unexpected randomness is due to the fact that the two hydrogen bonding hydroxyl groups of the 1,n-diol are bound by the neutral alkyl bond, which prevents the micro-segregation of the different types of hydroxyl groups. These findings suggest that random disorder can arise in the presence of strong interactions – in contrast to the usual picture of random disorder due to weak interactions between the components. They point to the important role of molecular topology in tuning concentration fluctuations in complex liquids. We propose and justify herein the name of Lifshitz phases to designate such types of disordered systems.

Graphical abstract: Lifshitz phase: the microscopic structure of aqueous and ethanol mixtures of 1,n-diols

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Publication details

The article was received on 27 Mar 2017, accepted on 09 May 2017 and first published on 11 May 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7CP01949A
Citation: Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2017,19, 14992-15004
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    Lifshitz phase: the microscopic structure of aqueous and ethanol mixtures of 1,n-diols

    M. Požar and A. Perera, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2017, 19, 14992
    DOI: 10.1039/C7CP01949A

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