Authors: Yanes-Rodriguez, Raquel; Cabrera-Ramirez, Adriana; Prosmiti, Rita


Publication date: 2022/06/01

DOI: 10.1039/d2cp00701k

Abstract: The dynamics of the formation of a specific clathrate hydrate as well as its thermodynamic transitions depend on the interactions between the trapped molecules and the host water lattice. The molecular-level understanding of the different underlying processes benefits not only the description of the properties of the system, but also allows the development of multiple technological applications such as gas storage, gas separation, energy transport, etc. In this work we investigate the stability of periodic crystalline structures, such as He@sI and He@sII clathrate hydrates by first-principles computations. We consider such host water networks interacting with a guest He atom using selected density functional theory approaches, in order to explore the effects on the encapsulation of a light atom in the sI/sII crystals, by deriving all energy components (guest-water, water-water, guest-guest). Structural properties and energies were first computed by structural relaxations of the He-filled and empty sI/sII unit cells, yielding lattice and compressibility parameters comparable to experimental and theoretical values available for those hydrates. According to the results obtained, the He enclathration in the sI/sII unit cells is a stabilizing process, and both He@sI and He@sII clathrates, considering single cage occupancy, are predicted to be stable whatever the XDM or D4 dispersion correction applied. Our results further reveal that despite the weak underlying interactions the He encapsulation has a rather notable effect on both lattice parameters and energetics, with the He@sII being the most energetically favorable in accord with recent experimental observations.