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Plastic and superionic phases in ammonia-water mixtures at high pressures and temperatures

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Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Physics: Condensed Matter
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 4 Feb 2020


The interiors of giant icy planets depend on the properties of hot, dense mixtures of the molecular ices water, ammonia, and methane. Here, we discuss results from first-principles molecular dynamics simulations up to 500 GPa and 5000 K for four different ammonia-water mixtures that correspond to the stable stoichiometries found in solid ammonia hydrates. We show that all mixtures support the formation of plastic and superionic phases at elevated pressures and temperatures, before eventually melting into molecular or ionic liquids. All mixtures' melting lines are found to be close to the isentropes of Uranus and Neptune. Through local structure analyses we trace and compare the evolution of chemical composition and longevity of chemical species across the thermally activated states. Under specific conditions we find that protons can be less mobile in the fluid state than in the (colder, solid) superionic regime.

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