An improved potential energy surface and multi-temperature quasiclassical trajectory calculations of N2 + N2 dissociation reactions

Jason D. Bender, Paolo Valentini, Ioannis Nompelis, Yuliya Paukku, Zoltan Varga, Donald G Truhlar, Thomas E Schwartzentruber, Graham V Candler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

165 Scopus citations


Accurate modeling of high-temperature hypersonic flows in the atmosphere requires consideration of collision-induced dissociation of molecular species and energy transfer between the translational and internal modes of the gas molecules. Here, we describe a study of the N2 + N2→N2 + 2N and N2 + N2→4N nitrogen dissociation reactions using the quasiclassical trajectory (QCT) method. The simulations used a new potential energy surface for the N4 system; the surface is an improved version of one that was presented previously. In the QCT calculations, initial conditions were determined based on a two-temperature model that approximately separates the translational-rotational temperature from the vibrational temperature of the N2 diatoms. Five values from 8000 K to 30 000 K were considered for each of the two temperatures. Over 2.4 × 109 trajectories were calculated. We present results for ensemble-averaged dissociation rate constants as functions of the translational-rotational temperature T and the vibrational temperature Tv. The rate constant depends more strongly on T when Tv is low, and it depends more strongly on Tv when T is low. Quasibound reactant states contribute significantly to the rate constants, as do exchange processes at higher temperatures. We discuss two sets of runs in detail: an equilibrium test set in which T = Tv and a nonequilibrium test set in which Tv < T. In the equilibrium test set, high-v and moderately-low-j molecules contribute most significantly to the overall dissociation rate, and this state specificity becomes stronger as the temperature decreases. Dissociating trajectories tend to result in a major loss of vibrational energy and a minor loss of rotational energy. In the nonequilibrium test set, as Tv decreases while T is fixed, higher-j molecules contribute more significantly to the dissociation rate, dissociating trajectories tend to result in a greater rotational energy loss, and the dissociation probability's dependence on v weakens. In this way, as Tv decreases, rotational energy appears to compensate for the decline in average vibrational energy in promoting dissociation. In both the equilibrium and nonequilibrium test sets, in every case, the average total internal energy loss in the dissociating trajectories is between 10.2 and 11.0 eV, slightly larger than the equilibrium potential energy change of N2 dissociation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number054304
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 7 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 AIP Publishing LLC.


Dive into the research topics of 'An improved potential energy surface and multi-temperature quasiclassical trajectory calculations of N2 + N2 dissociation reactions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this