An ab initio and force field study on the conformation and chain flexibility of the dichlorophosphazene trimer

Raimund Jaeger, Gyula J. Vancso

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Ab initio molecular orbital calculations have been used to study the conformation, valence electron charge density, and chain flexibility of a dichlorophosphazene trimer (CH3[NP(Cl2)]3CH3). The calculations were carried out at the restricted Hartree-Fock level with the 6-31 G* basis set. The dichlorophosphazene trimer adopts a planar transcis conformation. The valence electron charge distribution indicates strong charge separations along the backbone of the molecule, and is in agreement with Dewar's island delocalization model for bonding in linear and cyclic phosphazenes. In order to determine the height of the torsional barrier (2,5 kcal/mol), the torsional potential of a central P-N bond of the trimer was studied with a rigid rotor scan and geometry optimizations of selected rotamers. The flexibility of the P-N-P bond angle contributes significantly to the chain flexibility. Based on the results of the ab initio calculations, an empirical force field for the dichlorophosphazene trimer was developed. The energy expression includes bond stretch, angle bend, electrostatic, van der Waals, and torsional potential terms. A relaxed scan with the force field achieves good agreement with the ab initio results for the torsional potential in the vicinity of the stable conformation, and an excellent agreement with the ab initio results on changes in the P2N2P3 bond angle and the N1P2 - N2P3 dihedral angle during a full rotation around the N2 - P3 bond.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)673-689
JournalMacromolecular theory and simulations
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1996


  • METIS-105775
  • IR-71253


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