The effect of pressure on the hydration structure around hydrophobic solute: A molecular dynamics simulation study

Rahul Sarma, Sandip Paul

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Molecular dynamics simulations are performed to study the effects of pressure on the hydrophobic interactions between neopentane molecules immersed in water. Simulations are carried out for five different pressure values ranging from 1 atm to 8000 atm. From potential of mean force calculations, we find that with enhancement of pressure, there is decrease in the well depth of contact minimum (CM) and the relative stability of solvent separated minimum over CM increases. Lower clustering of neopentane at high pressure is also observed in association constant and cluster-structure analysis. Selected site-site radial distribution functions suggest efficient packing of water molecules around neopentane molecules at elevated pressure. The orientational profile calculations of water molecules show that the orientation of water molecules in the vicinity of solute molecule is anisotropic and this distribution becomes flatter as we move away from the solute. Increasing pressure slightly changes the water distribution. Our hydrogen bond properties and dynamics calculations reveal pressure-induced formation of more and more number of water molecules with five and four hydrogen bond at the expense of breaking of two and three hydrogen bonded water molecules. We also find lowering of water-water continuous hydrogen bond lifetime on application of pressure. Implication of these results for relative dispersion of hydrophobic molecules at high pressure are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number114510
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number11
StatePublished - Mar 21 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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