NMR spin-rotation relaxation and diffusion of methane
The translational diffusion-coefficient and the spin-rotation contribution to the 1H NMR relaxation rate for methane (CH4) are investigated using MD (molecular dynamics) simulations, over a wide range of densities and temperatures, spanning the liquid, supercritical, and gas phases. The simulated diffusion-coefficients agree well with measurements, without any adjustable parameters in the interpretation of the simulations. A minimization technique is developed to compute the angular velocity for non-rigid spherical molecules, which is used to simulate the autocorrelation function for spin-rotation interactions. With increasing diffusivity, the autocorrelation function shows increasing deviations from the single-exponential decay predicted by the Langevin theory for rigid spheres, and the deviations are quantified using inverse Laplace transforms. The 1H spin-rotation relaxation rate derived from the autocorrelation function using the “kinetic model” agrees well with measurements in the supercritical/gas phase, while the relaxation rate derived using the “diffusion model” agrees well with measurements in the liquid phase. 1H spin-rotation relaxation is shown to dominate over the MD-simulated 1H-1H dipole-dipole relaxation at high diffusivity, while the opposite is found at low diffusivity. At high diffusivity, the simulated spin-rotation correlation time agrees with the kinetic collision time for gases, which is used to derive a new expression for 1H spin-rotation relaxation, without any adjustable parameters.