Negative effect of nanoconfinement on water transport across nanotube membranes

KW Zhao and HY Wu and BS Han, JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL PHYSICS, 147, 164705 (2017).

DOI: 10.1063/1.5000493

Nanoconfinement environments are commonly considered advantageous for ultrafast water flow across nanotube membranes. This study illustrates that nanoconfinement has a negative effect on water transport across nanotube membranes based on molecular dynamics simulations. Although water viscosity and the friction coefficient evidently decrease because of nanoconfinement, water molecular flux and flow velocity across carbon nanotubes decrease sharply with the pore size of nanotubes. The enhancement of water flow across nanotubes induced by the decreased friction coefficient and water viscosity is markedly less prominent than the negative effect induced by the increased flow barrier as the nanotube size decreases. The decrease in water flow velocity with the pore size of nanotubes indicates that nanoconfinement is not essential for the ultrafast flow phenomenon. In addition, the relationship between flow velocity and water viscosity at different temperatures is investigated at different temperatures. The results indicate that flow velocity is inversely proportional to viscosity for nanotubes with a pore diameter above 1 nm, thereby indicating that viscosity is still an effective parameter for describing the effect of temperature on the fluid transport at the nanoscale. Published by AIP Publishing.

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