Density functional and Monte Carlo studies of sulfur. II. Equilibrium polymerization of the liquid phase

Pietro Ballone, R.O. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


The equilibrium polymerization of sulfur is investigated by Monte Carlo simulations. The potential energy model is based on density functional results for the cohesive energy, structural, and vibrational properties as well as reactivity of sulfur rings and chains [Part I, J. Chem. Phys. 118, 9257 (2003)]. Liquid samples of 2048 atoms are simulated at temperatures 450less than or equal toTless than or equal to850 K and P=0 starting from monodisperse S-8 molecular compositions. Thermally activated bond breaking processes lead to an equilibrium population of unsaturated atoms that can change the local pattern of covalent bonds and allow the system to approach equilibrium. The concentration of unsaturated atoms and the kinetics of bond interchanges is determined by the energy DeltaE(b) required to break a covalent bond. Equilibrium with respect to the bond distribution is achieved for 15less than or equal toDeltaE(b)less than or equal to21 kcal/mol over a wide temperature range (Tgreater than or equal to450 K), within which polymerization occurs readily, with entropy from the bond distribution overcompensating the increase in enthalpy. There is a maximum in the polymerized fraction at temperature T-max that depends on DeltaE(b). This fraction decreases at higher temperature because broken bonds and short chains proliferate and, for Tless than or equal toT(max), because entropy is less important than enthalpy. The molecular size distribution is described well by a Zimm-Schulz function, plus an isolated peak for S-8. Large molecules are almost exclusively open chains. Rings tend to have fewer than 24 atoms, and only S-8 is present in significant concentrations at all T. The T dependence of the density and the dependence of polymerization fraction and degree on DeltaE(b) give estimates of the polymerization temperature T-f=450+/-20 K. (C) 2003 American Institute of Physics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8704-8715
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 22 Oct 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


Dive into the research topics of 'Density functional and Monte Carlo studies of sulfur. II. Equilibrium polymerization of the liquid phase'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this