Grand-Reaction Method for Simulations of Ionization Equilibria and Ion Partitioning in a Broad Range of pH and Ionic Strength

30 August 2019, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


We introduce the grand-reaction method for coarse-grained simulations of acid-base equilibria in a system coupled to a reservoir at a given pH and concentration of added salt. It can be viewed as an extension of the constant-pH method and the reaction ensemble, combining explicit simulations of reactions within the system, and grand-canonical exchange of particles with the reservoir. Unlike the previously introduced methods, the grand-reaction method is applicable to acid-base equilibria in the whole pH range because it avoids known artifacts. However, the method is more general, and can be used for simulations of any reactive system coupled to a reservoir of a known composition. To demonstrate the advantages of the grand-reaction method, we simulated a model system: A solution of weak polyelectrolytes in equilibrium with a buffer solution. By carefully accounting for the exchange of all constituents, the method ensures that all chemical potentials are equal in the system and in the multi-component reservoir. Thus, the grand-reaction method is able to predict non-monotonic swelling of weak polyelectrolytes as a function of pH, that has been known from mean-field predictions and from experiments but has never been observed in coarse-grained simulations. Finally, we outline possible extensions and further generalizations of the method, and provide a set of guidelines to enable safe usage of the method by a broad community of users.




Comments are not moderated before they are posted, but they can be removed by the site moderators if they are found to be in contravention of our Commenting Policy [opens in a new tab] - please read this policy before you post. Comments should be used for scholarly discussion of the content in question. You can find more information about how to use the commenting feature here [opens in a new tab] .
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy [opens in a new tab] and Terms of Service [opens in a new tab] apply.