Structure and Dynamics of Water Confined in Imogolite Nanotubes

L Scalfi and G Fraux and A Boutin and FX Coudert, LANGMUIR, 34, 6748-6756 (2018).

DOI: 10.1021/acs.langmuir.8b01115

We have studied the properties of water adsorbed inside nanotubes of hydrophilic imogolite, an aluminum silicate clay mineral, by means of molecular simulations. We used a classical force field to describe the water and the flexible imogolite nanotube and validated it against the data obtained from first-principles molecular dynamics. With it, we observe a strong structuration of the water confined in the nanotube, with specific adsorption sites and a distribution of hydrogen bond patterns. The combination of number of adsorption sites, their geometry, and the preferential tetrahedral hydrogen bonding pattern of water leads to frustration and disorder. We further characterize the dynamics of the water, as well as the hydrogen bonds formed between water molecules and the nanotube, which is found to be more than order of magnitude longer than water-water hydrogen bonds.

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