Thermodynamics of Forming Water Clusters at Various Temperatures and Pressures by Gaussian-2, Gaussian-3, Complete Basis Set-QB3, and Complete Basis Set-APNO Model Chemistries; Implications for Atmospheric Chemistry

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Journal of the American Chemical Society





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The Gaussian-2, Gaussian-3, complete basis set- (CBS-) QB3, and CBS-APNO methods have been used to calculate ΔH° and ΔG° values for neutral clusters of water, (H2O)n, where n = 2−6. The structures are similar to those determined from experiment and from previous high-level calculations. The thermodynamic calculations by the G2, G3, and CBS-APNO methods compare well against the estimated MP2(CBS) limit. The cyclic pentamer and hexamer structures release the most heat per hydrogen bond formed of any of the clusters. While the cage and prism forms of the hexamer are the lowest energy structures at very low temperatures, as temperature is increased the cyclic structure is favored. The free energies of cluster formation at different temperatures reveal interesting insights, the most striking being that the cyclic trimer, cyclic tetramer, and cyclic pentamer, like the dimer, should be detectable in the lower troposphere. We predict water dimer concentrations of 9 × 1014 molecules/cm3, water trimer concentrations of 2.6 × 1012 molecules/cm3, tetramer concentrations of approximately 5.8 × 1011 molecules/cm3, and pentamer concentrations of approximately 3.5 × 1010 molecules/cm3 in saturated air at 298 K. These results have important implications for understanding the gas-phase chemistry of the lower troposphere.

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