A novel method to predict physicochemical properties of mixed solvents for chemical engineering application: Effective fragment potential version 2 – molecular dynamics (EFP2-MD) simulation


Solute-solvent interactions are the governing parameters of many physicochemical properties such as viscosity and solute solubility. Previous studies have already revealed that the intermolecular interactions vary non-linearly with molar fraction, which implies that mixed solvents could be designed to be chemically functional solvents, for example, the novel electrolytic solutions and reaction fields. However, predicting the controllable non-linear intermolecular interactions in mixed solvents becomes essentially impractical without experimental verification. Therefore, there is need for a physicochemical theory that can simulate mixed solvents’ properties without depending directly on experimentally derived parameters. In line with this, the ab initio effective fragment potential technique has been largely investigated. Unfortunately, most of the published reports on this topic only focus on micro solvation.

To this note, Professor Hirotoshi Mori and his PhD student Nahoko Kuroki at Ochanomizu University in Japan investigated the applicability of effective fragment potential version 2 – molecular dynamics (EFP2-MD) simulations in predicting thermochemical excess properties of unknown solvent mixtures. Explicitly, they purposed to explore the systematic prediction of excess volume for water-methanol binary mixture and its viability. Their work is currently published in the research journal, Chemical Physics Letters.

The research technique employed commenced with the optimization of the molecular structures of water and methanol. Next, at the optimum structures for each basis set, ab initio polarizable EFP2 force fields were determined. The researchers then went ahead and performed the EFP2-MD simulations for water-methanol binary liquid mixtures with 11 different methanol molar fractions at specified intervals. Lastly, a set of 150 picoseconds equilibration and 100 picoseconds production runs were performed to evaluate the volume and the density of each water-methanol binary mixture.

The authors observed that reproducing the experimental excess molar volume (a mixed solvent property) was very difficult by classical molecular dynamics simulations that employ pre-optimized force field parameters. Additionally, a comparison of the accuracy of the EFP2-MD simulations with effective fragment potentials expanded by four different basis sets was seen to reveal the significance of obtaining superior accuracy for describing intermolecular interactions in liquid mixtures.

The authors’ study successfully reported on the applicability of EFP2-MD simulations to mixed solvent systems with a set of numerical examples for various water-methanol binary liquid mixtures. Generally, it was observed that contrary to classical molecular dynamics simulations, the ab initio EFP2-MD simulations were promising from both an accuracy and computational point of view. The authors have also published an article representing the applicability of EFP2-molecular dynamics simulations to ionic liquids, which is promising as CO2 absorbate and non-volatile electrolyte. Altogether, this work has shown that it is possible to predict mixed solvents’ properties by EFP2-MD simulations. In the field of chemical engineering, it is very important to design chemical function of mixed liquids. The EFP2-MD method will open novel insights for chemical engineering in the future.

predict physicochemical properties of mixed solvents for chemical engineering application: Effective fragment potential version 2 – molecular dynamics (EFP2-MD) simulation - Advances in Engineering


About the author

Prof. Hirotoshi Mori studied weak intermolecular interaction of small organic molecules by means of LASER spectroscopy at Kyushu University in Japan and obtained his Bachelor (2002) and Master (2004) degrees in physical chemistry under supervision of Prof. Hiroshi Sekiya. He then joined the group of Prof. Eisaku Miyoshi at Kyuhsu University for a PhD project. He worked on theoretical design of various functional materials including organic light emitting diode (OLED), proton-electron coupled molecular switch, etc by means of molecular orbital calculations and obtained his PhD degree in 2005. From 2006 to 2008 he worked as a postdoctoral researcher of Prof. Mark S Gordon in USA where he engaged in development of relativistic model core potential method (MCP), a computationally cheap quantum chemical calculation method with enough high chemical accuracy, which is implemented in a quantum chemical program package GAMESS. After finishing his postdoctoral research, from 2008, he joined the chemistry department in Ochanomizu University at Tokyo, Japan as an assistant professor. Since April 2012 he has been working in the same place as an associate professor.

His current research focus is development of fast ab initio molecular dynamics simulation based on molecular fragmentation method. Related with the development, he is also working in materials informatics for designing functional liquid materials as a JST PRESTO (Sakigake) Project Researcher in the research field of “Advanced materials informatics through comprehensive integration among theoretical, experimental, computational and data-centric sciences”. and data-centric sciences”.

About the author

Ms.. Nahoko Kuroki received her Bachelor (2014) and Master (2016) in theoretical chemistry under supervision of Prof. Hirotoshi Mori. After finishing her Master’s work, she has been working in development and application of ab initio molecular dynamics methods for designing functional liquids (e.g. ionic liquids and their mixtures) as a Ph.D course student.

In her Ph.D project, she also focused in the development of methods for materials informatics. Related with the project, she is working as a JST ACT-I (Advanced Information and Communication Technology for Innovation) Project researcher and JSPS (Japan Society of Promotion of Science) research fellowship for young scientist, since 2018.


Nahoko Kuroki, Hirotoshi Mori. Applicability of effective fragment potential version 2 – Molecular dynamics (EFP2-MD) simulations for predicting excess properties of mixed solvents. Chemical Physics Letters, volume 694 (2018) page 82–85.

Go To Chemical Physics Letters


Nahoko Kuroki, Hirotoshi Mori. Effective fragment potential version 2  – Molecular dynamics (EFP2-MD) simulation for investigating solution structures of ionic liquids. Chemistry Letters, volume 45 (2018) page 1009–1011.


Go To Chemistry Letters

Check Also

Solvent engineering: A game changer for green hydrogen production with sustainable catalysts - Advances in Engineering

Solvent engineering: A game changer for green hydrogen production with sustainable catalysts