Ultra-fast vapor generation by a graphene nano-ratchet: a theoretical and simulation study

HR Ding and GL Peng and SQ Mo and DK Ma and SW Sharshir and N Yang, NANOSCALE, 9, 19066-19072 (2017).

DOI: 10.1039/c7nr05304e

Vapor generation is of prime importance for a broad range of applications: domestic water heating, de-salination and wastewater treatment, etc. However, slow and inefficient evaporation limits its development. In this study, a nano-ratchet, a multilayer graphene with cone-shaped nanopores (MGCN), to accelerate vapor generation has been proposed. By performing molecular dynamics simulation, we found that air molecules were spontaneously transported across MGCN and resulted in a remarkable pressure difference, 21 kPa, between the two sides of MGCN. We studied the dependence of the pressure difference on the ambient temperature and geometry of MGCN in detail. Through further analysis of the diffusive transport, we found that pressure difference depended on the competition between ratchet transport and Knudsen diffusion and it was further found that ratchet transport is dominant. The significant pressure difference could lead to a 15-fold or greater enhancement of vapor generation, which shows the wide applications of this nano- ratchet.

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