To develop prediction methods of three-phase equilibrium (coexistence) conditions of methane hydrate by molecular simulations, we examined the use of NVT (isometric-isothermal) molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. NVT MD simulations of coexisting solid hydrate, liquid water, and vapor methane phases were performed at four different temperatures, namely, 285, 290, 295, and 300 K. NVT simulations do not require complex pressure control schemes in multi-phase systems, and the growth or dissociation of the hydrate phase can lead to significant pressure changes in the approach toward equilibrium conditions. We found that the calculated equilibrium pressures tended to be higher than those reported by previous NPT (isobaric-isothermal) simulation studies using the same water model. The deviations of equilibrium conditions from previous simulation studies are mainly attributable to the employed calculation methods of pressure and Lennard-Jones interactions. We monitored the pressure in the methane phase, far from the interfaces with other phases, and confirmed that it was higher than the total pressure of the system calculated by previous studies. This fact clearly highlights the difficulties associated with the pressure calculation and control for multi-phase systems. The treatment of Lennard-Jones interactions without tail corrections in MD simulations also contributes to the overestimation of equilibrium pressure. Although improvements are still required to obtain accurate equilibrium conditions, NVT MD simulations exhibit potential for the prediction of equilibrium conditions of multi-phase systems.
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