Molecular dynamics provides a means to examine the mechanism of reorientation of hydrogen bond networks that are present in a range of biological and crystalline materials. Simulations of hydroxyl reorientation in the six-membered hydrogen bonded rings in crystalline clathrates of Dianin's compound (DC) and hydroquinone (HQ) reveal that in the clathrate of Dianin's compound with ethanol (DC:ethanol), hydroxyl groups perform single independent flips, and occasionally all six hydroxyls in a ring reorient following a sequential mechanism with participation of the guest ethanol molecule. The free energy estimated for this process agrees well with experimental results. The simulations suggest that hydroxyl reorientation occurs in the empty DC lattice as well, but at a higher energy cost, from which we conclude that it is the participation of ethanol that lowers the barrier of reorientation. Single independent flips of hydroxyl groups are observed to be more frequent in the hydroquinone clathrate with methanol (HQ:methanol) than in DC:ethanol, but reorientation of all six hydroxyls does not occur. This is attributed to the larger difference in energy between the original and reoriented positions of hydroxyl hydrogen atoms in HQ:methanol compared to DC:ethanol.
Nemkevich, A., Spackman, M., & Corry, B. (2011). Mechanism of Concerted Hydrogen Bond Reorientation in Clathrates of Dianin's Compound and Hydroquinone. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 133, 18880-18888. https://doi.org/10.1021/ja206962f