Anomalous Concentration Dependence of Viscosity: Hidden Role of Cross- Correlations in Aqueous Electrolyte Solutions

S Kumar and B Bagchi, JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY B, 127, 11031-11044 (2023).

DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcb.3c05117

The viscosity of aqueous electrolyte solutions exhibits well-known composition-dependent anomalies that show certain definitive trends and universal features. The viscosity of LiCl and NaCl solutions increases with concentration in a monotonic fashion, while solutions of KCl, RbCl, and CsCl exhibit a more complex behavior. Here, the viscosity first decreases and then increases with increasing concentration, with a rather broad minimum at intermediate concentrations (ca. 1-3 m). To unearth the origin of such puzzling behavior, we carried out detailed molecular-level analyses by interrogating the exact Green-Kubo expression of viscosity in terms of the stress-stress time correlation function (SS-TCF). The total SS-TCF can be decomposed into a collection of three self- and three cross-SS-TCFs arising from the three constituent components (water, cations, and anions). Mode coupling theory (MCT) analysis for the friction on ions and the viscosity of the solution suggests the possible importance of two-particle static and time-dependent cross-correlations between water and the ions. We calculate the viscosity and other dynamical properties for all five electrolyte (LiCl, NaCl, KCl, RbCl, and CsCl) solutions over a range of concentrations, using two models of water (SPC/E and TIP4P/2005). The total viscosity derives non-negligible contributions from all of the terms. The cross-correlations are found to be surprisingly large and seen to play a hidden role in the concentration dependence. However, the importance of cross-correlations is often not discussed. Our study leads to a theoretical understanding of the microscopic origin of the observed anomalies in the composition dependence of viscosity across all five electrolytes.

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