Initial stages of salt crystal dissolution determined with ab initio molecular dynamics
PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY CHEMICAL PHYSICS, 13, 13162 (2011)
The initial stages of NaCl dissolution in liquid water have been examined with state-of-the-art ab initio molecular dynamics and free energy sampling techniques. Our simulations reveal a complex multi-step process triggered by the departure of Cl ions from the lattice, with a well-defined intermediate state wherein departing ions are partially solvated but remain in contact with the crystal. The polarizability of Cl(-) is identified as the source of the anion's preferential initial dissolution, an effect which leads a forcefield based description of NaCl dissolution to fail to identify a preference for Cl over Na dissolution.