Molecular Insight into Water Desalination across Multilayer Graphene Oxide Membranes

B Chen and HF Jiang and X Liu and XJ Hu, ACS APPLIED MATERIALS & INTERFACES, 9, 22826-22836 (2017).

DOI: 10.1021/acsami.7b05307

Transport of ionic solutions through graphene oxide (GO) membranes is a complicated issue because the complex and tortuous structure inside makes it very hard to clarify. Using molecular dynamics (MD) simulations, we investigated the mechanism of water transport and ion movement across multilayer GO. The significant flow rate is considerably influenced by the structural parameters of GO membranes. Because of the size effect on a shrunken real flow area, there is disagreement between the classical continuum model and nanoscaled flow. To eliminate the variance, we obtained modified geometrical parameters from density analysis and used them in the developed hydrodynamic model to give a precise depiction of water flow. Four kinds of solutions (i.e., NaCl, KCl, MgCl2, and CaCl2) and different configurational GO sheets were considered to clarify the influence on salt permeation. It is found that the abilities of permeation to ions are not totally up to the hydration radius. Even though the ionic hydration shell is greater than the opening space, the ions can also pass through the split because of the special double-deck hydration structure. In the structure of GO, a smaller layer separation with greater offsetting gaps could substantially enhance the membrane's ability to reject salt. This work establishes molecular insight into the effects of configurational structures and salt species on desalination performance, providing useful guidelines for the design of multilayer GO membranes.

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