Voronoi Tessellation Analysis of Clathrate Hydrates
Molecular simulation of clathrate hydrate has provided significant advancements in our understanding of hydrate properties and formation. In this work we report the application of Voronoi tessellation to characterize the structuring of water and guest molecules forming hydrates. Tessellation of perfect sI and sII hydrate reveal positions of Voronoi vertices similar to the oxygen atoms of enclathrating water molecules. Applying tessellation to a simulation trajectory of hydrate formation, and using a further selection criteria based on polyhedra volume and coordination number, we identify numbers and types of "cage-like" polyhedra. Voronoi analysis of this type results in similar numbers of identified cages but with differing topologies. However, once nearest neighbor methanes are also enclathrated, the topologies of the Voronoi polyhedra approach that of the actual water cages. Since only methane coordinates are required, Voronoi tessellation is a fast and simple tool that can be used as an order parameter to identify the structuring of molecules when studying hydrates in simulations.