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

Abstract

We study by computer simulations binary mixtures of ethylene glycol and 1,3-propandiol with water or ethanol. Despite strong hydrogen bonding tendencies between all these molecules, we find that these mixtures are surprisingly homogeneous, in contrast with the strong micro-heterogeneity found in aqueous ethanol mixtures. The aqueous diol mixtures are found to be close to ideal mixing, with near-ideal Kirkwood-Buff integrals. Ethanol-diol mixtures show weak non-ideality. The origin of this surprising randomness is due to the fact that the two hydrogen bonding hydroxyl groups of the 1,n-diol are tied 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 presence of strong interactions -in contrast to the usual picture of random disorder as due to weak interactions between the components. They point to the important role of the 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.

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

    M. Pozar and A. Perera, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2017, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C7CP01949A

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