Comparative Studies of the Structural and Transport Properties of Molten Salt FLiNaK Using the Machine-Learned Neural Network and Reparametrized Classical Forcefields

SC Lee and YQ Zhai and ZX Li and NP Walter and M Rose and BJ Heuser and Y Zhang, JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY B, 125, 10562-10570 (2021).

DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcb.1c05608

Despite surging interest in molten salt reactors and thermal storage systems, knowledge of the physicochemical properties of molten salts are still inadequate due to demanding experiments that require high temperature, impurity control, and corrosion mitigation. Therefore, the ability to predict these properties for molten salts from first- principles computations is urgently needed. Herein, we developed and compared a machine-learned neural network force field (NNFF) and a reparametrized rigid ion model (RIM) for a prototypical molten salt LiF- NaF-KF (FLiNaK). We found that NNFF was able to reproduce both the structural and transport properties of the molten salt with first- principles accuracy and classical-MD computational efficiency. Furthermore, the correlation between the local atomic structures and the dynamics was identified by comparing with RIMs, suggesting the significance of polarization of anions implicitly embedded in the NNFF. This work demonstrated a computational framework that can facilitate the screening of molten salts with different chemical compositions, impurities, and additives, and at different thermodynamic conditions suitable for the next-generation nuclear reactors and thermal energy storage facilities.

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