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Journal of Chemical Physics

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Liquids -- Thermal properties, Nonequilibrium thermodynamics, Molecular dynamics


For a certain class of thermodynamic perturbation theories, a generalization of the Gibbs-Bogoliubov inequality holds through second order of perturbation theory and for a subset of terms the inequality is true to infinite order. Using this approximate variational principle, a perturbation theory is chosen for which the Helmholtz free energy of the reference system is minimized under the constraint that the first order term is identically zero. We apply these ideas to the determination of effective spherical potentials that accurately reproduce the thermodynamics of nonspherical molecular potentials. For a diatomic-Lennard-Jones (DLJ) potential with l ∕σ = 0.793, the resulting spherical reference potential is identical to the median average over angles for the repulsive part of the potential, but differs in the attractive well. The variational effective spherical potential leads to more accurate thermodynamics than the median, however, particularly in the triple point region.


This is the publisher's final pdf. Article appears in Journal of Chemical Physics ( and is copyrighted by APS Journals (

*At the time of publication John Ramshaw was affiliated with Los Alamos National Laboratory



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