Date of Award


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Materials Science and Engineering (MS)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Materials Science and Engineering


Gregory M Odegard



The development of innovative carbon-based materials can be greatly facilitated by molecular modeling techniques. Although the Reax Force Field (ReaxFF) can be used to simulate the chemical behavior of carbon-based systems, the simulation settings required for accurate predictions have not been fully explored. Using the ReaxFF, molecular dynamics (MD) simulations are used to simulate the chemical behavior of pure carbon and hydrocarbon reactive gases that are involved in the formation of carbon structures such as graphite, buckyballs, amorphous carbon, and carbon nanotubes. It is determined that the maximum simulation time step that can be used in MD simulations with the ReaxFF is dependent on the simulated temperature and selected parameter set, as are the predicted reaction rates. It is also determined that different carbon-based reactive gases react at different rates, and that the predicted equilibrium structures are generally the same for the different ReaxFF parameter sets, except in the case of the predicted formation of large graphitic structures with the Chenoweth parameter set under specific conditions.