Concept

Molecular mechanics

Summary
Molecular mechanics uses classical mechanics to model molecular systems. The Born–Oppenheimer approximation is assumed valid and the potential energy of all systems is calculated as a function of the nuclear coordinates using force fields. Molecular mechanics can be used to study molecule systems ranging in size and complexity from small to large biological systems or material assemblies with many thousands to millions of atoms. All-atomistic molecular mechanics methods have the following properties:
  • Each atom is simulated as one particle
  • Each particle is assigned a radius (typically the van der Waals radius), polarizability, and a constant net charge (generally derived from quantum calculations and/or experiment)
  • Bonded interactions are treated as springs with an equilibrium distance equal to the experimental or calculated bond length
Variants on this theme are possible. For example, many simulations have historically used a united-atom representation in which each terminal
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