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Cavitation And Negative Pressure: A Flexible Water Model Molecular Dynamics Simulation

Gang Liu, Qiang Fu, Junjun Kang

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The critical negative pressure for cavitation in water has been theoretically predicted to be in the range of -100 to -200 MPa at room temperature, whereas values around -30 MPa have been obtained by many experiments. The discrepancy has yet to be resolved. Molecular dynamics (MD) is an effective method of observing bubble nucleation, however, most MD simulations use a rigid water model and do not take the effects of intermolecular vibrations into account. In this manuscript we perform MD simulations to study cavitation in water by using a TIP4P/2005f model under volumecontrolled stretching. It is found that the critical negative pressure of water was -168 MPa in the simulation and the critical negative pressure of water containing 50 oxygen molecules was -150 MPa. Hydrogen bonds played a major role in the cavitation process: the breaking of hydrogen bonds promoted bubble generation and growth. The O-H bond could release energy to increase the amount of potential energy in the system, so that cavitation was more likely to occur. When cavitation occurred, the O-H bond could absorb energy to reduce the amount of potential energy in the system, which will promote the growth of bubbles, and stabilise the cavitation bubbles.