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Keywords:

  • formaldehyde;
  • iron surface;
  • density functional theory;
  • Vienna ab initio simulation package;
  • molecular dynamics;
  • ReaxFF;
  • transition state theory;
  • surface reaction;
  • density of state

Detailed formaldehyde adsorption and dissociation reactions on Fe(100) surface were studied using first principle calculations and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations, and results were compared with available experimental data. The study includes formaldehyde, formyl radical (HCO), and CO adsorption and dissociation energy calculations on the surface, adsorbate vibrational frequency calculations, density of states analysis of clean and adsorbed surfaces, complete potential energy diagram construction from formaldehyde to atomic carbon (C), hydrogen (H), and oxygen (O), simulation of formaldehyde adsorption and dissociation reaction on the surface using reactive force field, ReaxFF MD, and reaction rate calculations of adsorbates using transition state theory (TST). Formaldehyde and HCO were adsorbed most strongly at the hollow (fourfold) site. Adsorption energies ranged from −22.9 to −33.9 kcal/mol for formaldehyde, and from −44.3 to −66.3 kcal/mol for HCO, depending on adsorption sites and molecular direction. The dissociation energies were investigated for the dissociation paths: formaldehyde [RIGHTWARDS ARROW] HCO + H, HCO [RIGHTWARDS ARROW] H + CO, and CO [RIGHTWARDS ARROW] C + O, and the calculated energies were 11.0, 4.1, and 26.3 kcal/mol, respectively. ReaxFF MD simulation results were compared with experimental surface analysis using high resolution electron energy loss spectrometry (HREELS) and TST based reaction rates. ReaxFF simulation showed less reactivity than HREELS observation at 310 and 523 K. ReaxFF simulation showed more reactivity than the TST based rate for formaldehyde dissociation and less reactivity than TST based rate for HCO dissociation at 523 K. TST-based rates are consistent with HREELS observation. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.