Solvation thermodynamics and heat capacity of polar and charged solutes in water

Felix Sedlmeier and Roland R. Netz – 2013

The solvation thermodynamics and in particular the solvation heat capacity of polar and charged solutes in water is studied using atomistic molecular dynamics simulations. As ionic solutes we consider a F− and a Na + ion, as an example for a polar molecule with vanishing net charge we take a SPC/E water molecule. The partial charges of all three solutes are varied in a wide range by a scaling factor. Using a recently introduced method for the accurate determination of the solvation free energy of polar solutes, we determine the free energy, entropy, enthalpy, and heat capacity of the three different solutes as a function of temperature and partial solute charge. We find that the sum of the solvation heat capacities of the Na + and F− ions is negative, in agreement with experimental observations, but our results uncover a pronounced difference in the heat capacity between positively and negatively charged groups. While the solvation heat capacity ΔC p stays positive and even increases slightly upon charging the Na + ion, it decreases upon charging the F− ion and becomes negative beyond an ion charge of q = −0.3e. On the other hand, the heat capacity of the overall charge-neutral polar solute derived from a SPC/E water molecule is positive for all charge scaling factors considered by us. This means that the heat capacity of a wide class of polar solutes with vanishing net charge is positive. The common ascription of negative heat capacities to polar chemical groups might arise from the neglect of non-additive interaction effects between polar and apolar groups. The reason behind this non-additivity is suggested to be related to the second solvation shell that significantly affects the solvation thermodynamics and due to its large spatial extent induces quite long-ranged interactions between solvated molecular parts and groups.

Solvation thermodynamics and heat capacity of polar and charged solutes in water
Felix Sedlmeier and Roland R. Netz
J. Chem. Phys., 2013, 138, 115101