Entropy and the driving force for the filling of carbon nanotubes with water
TA Pascal and WA Goddard and Y Jung, PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, 108, 11794-11798 (2011).
The spontaneous filling of hydrophobic carbon nanotubes (CNTs) by water observed both experimentally and from simulations is counterintuitive because confinement is generally expected to decrease both entropy and bonding, and remains largely unexplained. Here we report the entropy, enthalpy, and free energy extracted from molecular dynamics simulations of water confined in CNTs from 0.8 to 2.7-nm diameters. We find for all sizes that water inside the CNTs is more stable than in the bulk, but the nature of the favorable confinement of water changes dramatically with CNT diameter. Thus we find (i) an entropy (both rotational and translational) stabilized, vapor-like phase of water for small CNTs (0.8-1.0 nm), (ii) an enthalpy stabilized, ice-like phase for medium- sized CNTs (1.1-1.2 nm), and (iii) a bulk-like liquid phase for tubes larger than 1.4 nm, stabilized by the increased translational entropy as the waters sample a larger configurational space. Simulations with structureless coarse-grained water models further reveal that the observed free energies and sequence of transitions arise from the tetrahedral structure of liquid water. These results offer a broad theoretical basis for understanding water transport through CNTs and other nanostructures important in nanofluidics, nanofiltrations, and desalination.
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