A DFT accurate machine learning description of molten ZnCl2 and its mixtures: 1. Potential development and properties prediction of molten ZnCl2

GCQ Pan and P Chen and H Yan and YT Lu, COMPUTATIONAL MATERIALS SCIENCE, 185, 109955 (2020).

DOI: 10.1016/j.commatsci.2020.109955

Molten eutectic salts consisting of ZnCl2 and other alkali chlorides are promising thermal storage and heat transfer fluid materials in the next generation concentrated solar thermal power. To go deep into the thermal and transport properties for a high order mixture, the microstructure information, as well as thermodynamics properties of individual components, have to be identified first. This work develops interatomic potentials of molten ZnCl2 based on neural-network machine learning approach for the first time. The machine learning potential is trained by fitting to the energies and forces of liquid structures ab initio molecular dynamics calculations. The developed machine learning potential is validated by comparing partial radial distribution functions, coordination numbers, and partial structure factors with AIMD and PIM potential. The machine learning potential yields a more precise description of the microstructures than the PIM potential which suffers from the analytical form. Furthermore, structural and thermophysical evolution with temperature are studied and the results are in good agreement with experimental values. The efficient machine learning potential with DFT accuracy from our study will provide a promising scheme for accurate molecular simulations of structures and dynamics of molten ZnCl2 mixtures.

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