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Issue 32, 2017
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The structure of liquid alkali nitrates and nitrites

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High energy X-ray diffraction has been combined with containerless techniques to determine the structure of a series of alkali and ammonium nitrate and nitrite liquids. The systems have been modelled using molecular dynamics simulation which allows for the flexibility of, and movement of charge within, the molecular anions. The model reproduces the experimentally-determined scattering functions in both the low- and high-Q regimes reflecting the inter- and intra-molecular length-scales. For ammonium nitrate the best fit to the diffraction data is obtained by assuming the NH4+ cation to have a radius closer to that for Cs+ rather than a smaller cation such as Rb+ as often previously assumed. The alkali nitrites show an emergent length scale, attributed to the nitrogen–nitrogen spatial correlations, that depends on both temperature and the identity of the alkali cation. The corresponding nitrates show a more subtle effect in the nitrogen–nitrogen correlations. As a result, the nature of this N–N length-scale appears different for the respective nitrites and nitrates.

Graphical abstract: The structure of liquid alkali nitrates and nitrites

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Publication details

The article was received on 23 May 2017, accepted on 26 Jul 2017 and first published on 26 Jul 2017

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7CP03465B
Citation: Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2017,19, 21625-21638
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    The structure of liquid alkali nitrates and nitrites

    M. C. Wilding, M. Wilson, M. C. C. Ribeiro, C. J. Benmore, J. K. R. Weber, O. L. G. Alderman, A. Tamalonis and J. B. Parise, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2017, 19, 21625
    DOI: 10.1039/C7CP03465B

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