First Principles Reaction Discovery: From the Schrodinger Equation to Experimental Prediction for Methane Pyrolysis

02 March 2023, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Our recent success in exploiting graphical processing units (GPUs) to accelerate quantum chemistry computations led to the development of the ab initio nanoreactor, a computational framework for automatic reaction discovery and kinetic model construction. In this work, we apply the ab initio nanoreactor to methane pyrolysis, from automatic reaction discovery to path refinement and kinetic modeling. Elementary reactions occurring during methane pyrolysis are revealed using GPU-accelerated ab initio molecular dynamics simulations. Subsequently, these reaction paths are refined at a higher level of theory with optimized reactant, product, and transition state geometries. Reaction rate coefficients are calculated by transition state theory based on the optimized reaction paths. The discovered reactions lead to a kinetic model with 53 species and 134 reactions, which is validated against experimental data and simulations using literature kinetic models. We highlight the advantage of leveraging local brute force and Monte Carlo sensitivity analysis approaches for efficient identification of important reactions. Both sensitivity approaches can further improve the accuracy of methane pyrolysis kinetic model. The results in this work demonstrate the power of the ab initio nanoreactor framework for computationally affordable systematic reaction discovery and accurate kinetic modeling.


Ab initio nanoreactor
Methane pyrolysis
Reaction discovery
kinetic modeling

Supplementary materials

Supporting information
This is the supporting document.


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