The MgCO3-CaCO3-Li2CO3-Na2CO3-K2CO3 melts: Thermodynamics and transport properties by atomistic simulations
Atomistic simulations provide a meaningful way to determine the physicochemical properties of liquids in a consistent theoretical framework. This approach takes on a particular usefulness for the study of molten carbonates, in a context where thermodynamic and transport data are crucially needed over a large domain of temperatures and pressures (to ascertain the role of these melts in geochemical processes) but are very scarce in the literature, especially for the calcomagnesian compositions prevailing in the Earth's mantle. Following our work on Li2CO3-Na2CO3-K2CO3 melts, we extend our force field to incorporate Ca and Mg components. The empirical interaction potentials are benchmarked on the density data available in the experimental literature [for the crystals and the K2Ca(CO3)2 melt] and on the liquid structure issued from ab initio molecular dynamics simulations. Molecular dynamics simulations are then performed to study the thermodynamics, the microscopic structure, the diffusion coefficients, the electrical conductivity, and the viscosity of molten Ca,Mg-bearing carbonates up to 2073 K and 15 GPa. Additionally, the equation of state of a Na-Ca-K mixture representative of the lavas emitted at Ol Doinyo Lengai (Tanzania) is evaluated. The overall agreement between the MD results and the existing experimental data is very satisfactory and provides evidence for the ability of the force field to accurately model any MgCO3-CaCO3-Li2CO3-Na2CO3-K2CO3 melt over a large T-P range. Moreover, it is the first report of a force field allowing us to study the transport properties of molten magnesite (MgCO3) and molten dolomite [CaMg(CO3)2].