Insight on tricalcium silicate hydration and dissolution mechanism from molecular simulations
ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
American Chemical Society
14726 - 14733
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Hydration of mineral surfaces, a critical process for many technological applications, encompasses multiple coupled chemical reactions and topological changes, challenging both experimental characterization and computational modeling. In this work, we used reactive force field simulations to understand the surface properties, hydration, and dissolution of a model mineral, tricalcium silicate. We show that the computed static quantities, i.e., surface energies and water adsorption energies, do not provide useful insight into predict mineral hydration because they do not account for major structural changes at the interface when dynamic effects are included. Upon hydration, hydrogen atoms from dissociated water molecules penetrate into the crystal, forming a disordered calcium silicate hydrate layer that is similar for most of the surfaces despite wide-ranging static properties. Furthermore, the dynamic picture of hydration reveals the hidden role of surface topology, which can lead to unexpected water tessellation that stabilizes the surface against dissolution.