Temperature-dependent structure of methanol-water mixtures on cooling: X-ray and neutron diffraction and molecular dynamics simulations

Ildikó Pethes, László Pusztai, Koji Ohara, Shinji Kohara, Jacques Darpentigny, László Temleitner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Methanol-water liquid mixtures have been investigated by high-energy synchrotron X-ray and neutron diffraction at low temperatures. We are thus able to report the first complete sets of both X-ray and neutron weighted total scattering structure factors over the entire composition range (at 12 different methanol concentrations (xM) from 10 to 100 mol%) and at temperatures from ambient down to the freezing points of the mixtures. The new diffraction data may later be used as reference in future theoretical and simulation studies. The measured data are interpreted by molecular dynamics simulations, in which the all atom OPLS/AA force field model for methanol is combined with both the SPC/E and TIP4P/2005 water potentials. Although the TIP4P/2005 water model was found to be somewhat more successful, both combinations provide at least semi-quantitative agreement with measured diffraction data. From the simulated particle configurations, partial radial distribution functions, as well as various distributions of the number of hydrogen bonds have been determined. As a general trend, the average number of hydrogen bonds increases upon cooling. However, the number of hydrogen bonds between methanol molecules slightly decreases with lowering temperatures in the concentration range between ca. 30 and 60 mol% alcohol content. The same is valid for water-water hydrogen bonds above 70 mol% of methanol content, from room temperature down to 193 K.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113664
JournalJournal of Molecular Liquids
Publication statusPublished - Sep 15 2020


  • Hydrogen bonds
  • Methanol-water mixtures
  • Molecular dynamics simulation
  • Neutron diffraction
  • Temperature dependence
  • X-ray diffraction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Spectroscopy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry

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