Linearly sloped or "ramp" potentials belong to a class of core-softened models which possess a liquid-liquid critical point (LLCP) in addition to the usual liquid-gas critical point. Furthermore, they exhibit thermodynamic anomalies in their density and compressibility, the nature of which may be akin to those occurring in water. Previous simulation studies of ramp potentials have focused on just one functional form, for which the LLCP is thermodynamically stable. In this work we construct a series of ramp potentials, which interpolate between this previously studied form and a ramp-based approximation to the Lennard-Jones (LJ) potential. By means of Monte Carlo simulation, we locate the LLCP, the first order high density liquid (HDL)-low density liquid (LDL) coexistence line, and the line of density maxima for a selection of potentials in the series. We observe that as the LJ limit is approached, the LLCP becomes metastable with respect to freezing into a hexagonal close packed crystalline solid. The qualitative nature of the phase behavior in this regime shows a remarkable resemblance to that seen in simulation studies of accurate water models. Specifically, the density of the liquid phase exceeds that of the solid; the gradient of the metastable LDL-HDL line is negative in the pressure (p) -temperature (T) plane; while the line of density maxima in the p-T plane has a shape similar to that seen in water and extends into the stable liquid region of the phase diagram. As such, our results lend weight to the "second critical point" hypothesis as an explanation for the anomalous behavior of water.
|Physical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
|Published - 30 Jun 2006