Computer modelling of the thermal decomposition of solids

De la Croix, Annemarie (1996) Computer modelling of the thermal decomposition of solids. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.

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Decompositions of solids are typically of the form: A(s) ----> B(s) + gases. Symmetry-controlled routes (based on known and hypothetical crystal structures) for transforming the solid reactant into the solid product were devised as possible decomposition pathways. Lattice energies of the reactants, of the postulated transient intermediate structures and of the final solid products were then estimated by crystal modelling procedures. Profiles of lattice energy changes during the proposed decomposition routes were constructed and any energy barriers were compared with experimental activation energies reported for the thermal decompositions. The crystal modelling was performed with the computer program WMIN. Calculation of the lattice energies involved the development of a model potential for the perfect lattice and the evaluation of the interatomic parameters. The potential was based on the Born model of ionic solids using the Buckingham potential (Ø(r)= Ae⁻r/p - C/r⁶) to describe the short-range energy contribution. Empirical fitting was used to establish reliable interatomic energy parameters. The reliability of the interatomic potentials was assessed by calculating crystal structures and lattice energies (which were not included in the fitting). The particular reactions selected for modelling were the decompositions of the alkaline-earth metal (Ca, Sr, Ba) peroxides and carbonates: M0₂(s) ---> MO(s) + ¹/₂0₂(g) MC0₃(s) ---> MO(s) + CO₂(g)The lattice energies calculated for the known structures were in good agreement with reported values,(except for Ba0₂ and BaC0₃) which provided support for the adequacy of the potential model used. Activation energies calculated for the decomposition of the carbonates were in the correct order but hlgher than experimental values, i. e., 422, 422, 465 and 499 kJ mol̄̄⁻¹ compared to the experimental values of 205, 87(?), 222 and 283 kJ mol̄̄⁻¹ for CaC0₃ (calcite), CaC0₃(aragonite), SrC0₃ and BaC0₃. The values calculated for the peroxides (91 and 100 kJ mol⁻¹ compared to the experimental values of 119 and 185 kJ mol⁻¹ for Sr0₂ and Ba0₂ respectively) were less satisfactory but could be a reflection of the poor structural data used for the peroxides. The significance of this approach to the modelling of solid decompositions is discussed.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Solids, Decomposition, Crystal structures, Pathways, Solid reactant, Solid product, Lattice energies, Transient intermediate structures, Crystal modelling procedures, Energy changes, Experimental activation energies
Subjects:Q Science > QD Chemistry
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Science > Chemistry
Supervisors:Brown, Michael and Glasser, Leslie
ID Code:3372
Deposited By: Philip Clarke
Deposited On:18 Sep 2012 14:06
Last Modified:18 Sep 2012 14:06
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