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Evaluating error with atomistic simulations: the effect of potential and calculation methodology on the modeling of lattice and elastic constants.



Lucas M. Hale, Zachary T. Trautt, Chandler A. Becker


Atomistic simulations using classical interatomic potentials are powerful investigative tools linking atomic structures to dynamic properties and behaviors. It is well known that different interatomic potentials produce different results, thus making it necessary to characterize potentials based on how they predict basic properties. Doing so makes it possible to compare existing interatomic models in order to select those best suited for specific use cases, and to identify any limitations of the models that may lead to unrealistic responses. While the methods for obtaining many of these properties are often thought of as simple calculations, there are many underlying aspects that can lead to variability in the reported property values. For instance, multiple methods may exist for computing the same property and values may be sensitive to certain simulation parameters. Here, we introduce a new high-throughput computational framework that encodes various simulation methodologies as Python calculation scripts. Three distinct methods for evaluating the lattice and elastic constants of bulk crystal structures are implemented and used to evaluate the properties across 120 interatomic potentials, 18 crystal prototypes, and all possible combinations of unique lattice site and elemental model pairings. Analysis of the results reveals which potentials and crystal prototypes are sensitive to the calculation methods and parameters, and it assists with the verification of potentials, methods, and molecular dynamics software. The results, calculation scripts, and computational infrastructure are self-contained and openly available to support researchers in performing meaningful simulations.
Modelling and Simulation in Materials Science and Engineering
Created May 9, 2018, Updated November 10, 2018