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Volume 141, 2009
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Water nanodroplets confined in zeolite pores

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We provide a comprehensive depiction of the behaviour of a nanodroplet of ≃20 water molecules confined in the pores of a series of 3D-connected isostructural zeolites with varying acidity, by means of molecular simulations. Both grand canonical Monte Carlo simulations using classical interatomic forcefields and first-principles Car–Parrinello molecular dynamics were used in order to characterise the behaviour of confined water by computing a range of properties, from thermodynamic quantities to electronic properties such as dipole moment, including structural and dynamical information. From the thermodynamic point of view, we have identified the all-silica zeolite as hydrophobic, and the cationic zeolites as hydrophilic; the condensation transition in the first case was demonstrated to be of first order. Furthermore, in-depth analysis of the dynamical and electronic properties of water showed that water in the hydrophobic zeolite behaves as a nanodroplet trying to close its hydrogen-bond network onto itself, with a few short-lived dangling OH groups, while water in hydrophilic zeolites “opens up” to form weak hydrogen bonds with the zeolite oxygen atoms. Finally, the dipole moment of confined water is studied and the contributions of water self-polarisation and the zeolite electric field are discussed.

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Article information

28 Mar 2008
02 Jun 2008
First published
19 Sep 2008

Faraday Discuss., 2009,141, 377-398
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Water nanodroplets confined in zeolite pores

F. Coudert, F. Cailliez, R. Vuilleumier, A. H. Fuchs and A. Boutin, Faraday Discuss., 2009, 141, 377
DOI: 10.1039/B804992K

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