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Molecular Dynamics Simulation of Titanium Dioxide Nanoparticle Sintering

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posted on 29.12.2005, 00:00 authored by Vishal N. Koparde, Peter T. Cummings
Nanoparticles have been an area of active research in recent years due to their properties, which can be greatly different from the bulk. In this work, we study the sintering of TiO2 nanoparticles using molecular dynamics simulations. Such sintering occurs in flame reactors where nanotitania is prepared via the chloride process. Decrease in free energy due to reduction in surface area is the main driving force for sintering of particles. Simulations, at various starting temperatures and orientations, indicate that the process of sintering is strongly affected by temperature and initial orientation. Extremely high diffusion of ions in the neck region of sintering nanoparticles supports the idea that solid-state diffusion is significant in metal-oxide nanoparticle sintering. It is found that the dipole−dipole interaction between sintering nanoparticles plays a very important role at temperatures away from the melting point. The duration of the simulation is not enough to observe the complete sintering process, but important initial stages are well studied.