Predicting Hugoniot equation of state in erythritol with ab initio and reactive molecular dynamics

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Erythritol has been proposed as an inert surrogate for developing theoretical and computational models to study aging in energetic materials. In this work, we present a comparison of mechanical and shock properties of erythritol computed using the ReaxFF reactive force field and from ab initio calculations employing density functional theory (DFT). We screened eight different ReaxFF parameterizations, of which the CHO parameters developed for hydrocarbon oxidation provide the most accurate predictions of mechanical properties and the crystal structure of erythritol. Further validation of the applicability of this ReaxFF parameterization for modeling erythritol is demonstrated by comparing predictions of the elastic constants, crystal structure, vibrational density of states, and Hugoniot curves against DFT calculations. The ReaxFF predictions are in close agreement with the DFT simulations for the elastic constants and shock Hugoniot when the crystal is loaded along its c axis but show as much as 30% disagreement in the elastic constants in the a b plane and 12% difference in shock pressures when shocked along the a or b crystal axes. Last, we compare thermomechanical properties predicted from classical molecular dynamics with those calculated using the quasi-harmonic approximation and show that quantum mechanical effects produce large discrepancies in the computed values of heat capacity and thermal expansion coefficients compared with classical assumptions. Combining classical molecular dynamics predictions of mechanical behavior with phonon-based calculations of thermal behaviors, we show that predicted shock-induced temperatures for pressures up to 6.5 GPa do not exceed the pressure-dependent melting point of erythritol.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number195106
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number19
StatePublished - May 21 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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