A molecular dynamics study of the thermal response of crystalline cellulose Iβ

Qiong Zhang, Vincent Bulone, Hans Ågren, Yaoquan Tu

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40 Citations (Scopus)


Molecular dynamics simulations were performed to better understand the atomic details of thermal induced transitions in cellulose Iβ. The latest version of the GLYCAM force field series (GLYCAM06) was used for the simulations. The unit cell parameters, density, torsion angles and hydrogen-bonding network of the crystalline polymer were carefully analyzed. The simulated data were validated against the experimental results obtained by X-ray diffraction for the crystal structure of cellulose Iβ at room and high temperatures, as well as against the temperature-dependent IR measurements describing the variation of hydrogen bonding patterns. Distinct low and high temperature structures were identified, with a phase transition temperature of 475-500 K. In the high-temperature structure, all the origin chains rotated around the helix axis by about 30° and the conformation of all hydroxymethyl groups changed from tg to either gt on origin chains or gg on center chains. The hydrogen-bonding network was reorganized along with the phase transition. Compared to the previously employed GROMOS 45a4 force field, GLYCAM06 yields data in much better agreement with experimental observations, which reflects that a cautious parameterization of the nonbonded interaction terms in a force field is critical for the correct prediction of the thermal response in cellulose crystals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-221
Number of pages15
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Cellulose Iβ
  • GLYCAM06
  • Molecular dynamics
  • Thermal response


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