Mass Accommodation of Water: Bridging the Gap Between Molecular Dynamics Simulations and Kinetic Condensation Models

Jan Julin*, Manabu Shiraiwa, Rachael E. H. Miles, Jonathan P. Reid, Ulrich Poschl, Ilona Riipinen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

77 Citations (Scopus)


The condensational growth of submicrometer aerosol particles to climate relevant sizes is sensitive to their ability to accommodate vapor molecules, which is described by the mass accommodation coefficient. However, the underlying processes are not yet fully understood. We have simulated the mass accommodation and evaporation processes of water using molecular dynamics, and the results are compared to the condensation equations derived from the kinetic gas theory to shed light on the compatibility of the two. Molecular dynamics simulations were performed for a planar TIP4P-Ew water surface at four temperatures in the range 268-300 K as well as two droplets, with radii of 1.92 and 4.14 nm at T = 273.15 K. The evaporation flux from molecular dynamics was found to be in good qualitative agreement with that predicted by the simple kinetic condensation equations. Water droplet growth was also modeled with the kinetic multilayer model KM-GAP of Shiraiwa et al. [Atmos. Chem. Phys. 2012, 12, 2777]. It was found that, due to the fast transport across the interface, the growth of a pure water droplet is controlled by gas phase diffusion. These facts indicate that the simple kinetic treatment is sufficient in describing pure water condensation and evaporation. The droplet size was found to have minimal effect on the value of the mass accommodation coefficient. The mass accommodation coefficient was found to be unity (within 0.004) for all studied surfaces, which is in agreement with previous simulation work. Additionally, the simulated evaporation fluxes imply that the evaporation coefficient is also unity. Comparing the evaporation rates of the mass accommodation and evaporation simulations indicated that the high collision flux, corresponding to high supersaturation, present in typical molecular dynamics mass accommodation simulations can under certain conditions lead to an increase in the evaporation rate. Consequently, in such situations the mass accommodation coefficient can be overestimated, but in the present cases the corrected values were still close to unity with the lowest value at approximate to 10.99.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)410-420
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry A
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jan 2013




Dive into the research topics of 'Mass Accommodation of Water: Bridging the Gap Between Molecular Dynamics Simulations and Kinetic Condensation Models'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this