Shepherd, 1925

Solvation and Reactivity of Volcanic Gases in Nanodroplets

  • Date

    August 31, 2021

  • Time


  • Venue


  • Speaker

    Mr. HUI Chi Hang, Wallace Department of Earth Sciences, HKU

Molecular solvation plays a critical role in the transport and reactivity of volcanic and hydrothermal vapors. For instance, interactions between volcanic sulphur dioxide (SO2) and water vapor (cold and hot) give rise to a wide range of gaseous acids, e.g. H2SO3 and H2SO4 with unusual acidities and solvation behavior. These materials are therefore important in our understanding of hydrothermal geochemistry, but equally relevant to solvation processes taking place in atmospheric droplets and at liquid-gas interfaces.

This work focuses in part on the speciation of SO2 (and related sulfur species) in nano-scale water droplets with varying numbers of H2O molecules. I will initially present results from electronic structure calculations for the smallest complex, i.e. SO2(H2O), its product acid H2SO3, a precursor compound critical in the formation of atmospheric sulfuric acid H2SO4. Preliminary results indicate that the SO2(H2O) dimer complex is stable up to ~200 K, unstable at 298 K and at higher temperatures, and would likely dissociate back to SO2 and H2O in low-density water vapor. This presentation will also include a summary of results obtained from first-principles molecular dynamic simulations (Car-Parrinello Molecular Dynamics) of SO2(H2O)n nanodroplets (with up to 40 waters), by considering both droplet surface and interior solvation sites. The goal of this work is to probe the propensity of SO2 for droplet surfaces or interiors (vs bulk fluid), and to evaluate the temperature-dependent stability of SO2 in a nanodroplet and that of the droplet itself. These CPMD simulations are currently also being expanded to include scenarios in which neutral and ionic solutes are deposited onto mixed H2O-H2S nanodroplet surfaces, interiors, and bulk solution environments.

Additional information: Mr. HUI Chi Hang Wallace,