Computer Simulation Study of an SN2 Reaction in Supercritical Water Academic Article uri icon


  • Molecular dynamics computer simulation is used to examine solvation of species of varying polarity along the reaction coordinate for the SN2 reaction of Cl- and CH3Cl in supercritical water. At reduced densities down to 0.5, the solute-solvent interactions are sufficiently strong to preserve solvent configurations with solute coordination numbers nearly as high as in ambient water. Hydrogen-bonding interactions are converted to less specific polar interactions. This loss of hydrogen bonds from ambient water to supercritical water decreases as the hydrogen bond strength increases for the series of solutes from the equivalent Cl's in the transition state complex, to Cl- in the ion dipole complex, to free Cl- in the reactant state. Two-dimensional angle averaged cylindrical and (1-D) spherically averaged pair distribution functions, along with energy distribution functions, provide a clear explanation of the origins of ΔA, ΔE, and TΔS along the reaction coordinate. © 1995 American Chemical Society.

author list (cited authors)

  • Balbuena, P. B., Johnston, K. P., & Rossky, P. J.

citation count

  • 33

publication date

  • February 1995