Calculating the enthalpy of formation of a polymer with ab initio methods requires two choices. The first decision is whether to use oligomeric extrapolation or periodic boundary conditions to model the extended system, and the second choice is between formation reactions to be modeled, for example, formation from atoms, formation from standard states, or formation from some set of molecular systems. Utilizing trans-polyacetylene and polyethylene as examples, the oligomeric and periodic techniques are contrasted, leading to a discussion of the larger than minimal unit cell required when frequency calculations only include in-phase vibrations, that is, only the k = 0 frequencies, in an enthalpy of formation calculation. The accuracy of calculating the enthalpy of formation, in light of density functional theory's increased error with larger systems and with respect to various reference states, is also discussed. The calculation of the enthalpy of formation for a polymer is most accurate when the reference states are chosen carefully and most efficient when using periodic boundary conditions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Materials Chemistry