Molecular Origin of Fast Water Transport in Carbon Nanotube Membranes: Superlubricity versus Curvature Dependent Friction

K Falk and F Sedlmeier and L Joly and RR Netz and L Bocquet, NANO LETTERS, 10, 4067-4073 (2010).

DOI: 10.1021/nl1021046

In this paper, we study the interfacial friction of water at graphitic interfaces with various topologies, water between planar graphene sheets, inside and outside carbon nanotubes, with the goal to disentangle confinement and curvature effects on friction We show that the friction coefficient exhibits a strong curvature dependence, while friction is independent of confinement for the graphene slab, it decreases with carbon nanotube radius for water inside, but increases for water outside As a paradigm the friction coefficient is found to vanish below a threshold diameter for armchair nanotubes Using a statistical description of the interfacial friction, we highlight here a structural origin of this curvature dependence, mainly associated with a curvature-induced incommensurability between the water and carbon structures These results support the recent experiments reporting fast transport of water in nanometric carbon nanotube membranes

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