Strain engineering water transport in graphene nanochannels

W Xiong and JZ Liu and M Ma and ZP Xu and J Sheridan and QS Zheng, PHYSICAL REVIEW E, 84, 056329 (2011).

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.84.056329

Using equilibrium and nonequilibrium molecular dynamic simulations, we found that engineering the strain on the graphene planes forming a channel can drastically change the interfacial friction of water transport through it. There is a sixfold change of interfacial friction stress when the strain changes from -10% to 10%. Stretching the graphene walls increases the interfacial shear stress, while compressing the graphene walls reduces it. Detailed analysis of the molecular structure reveals the essential roles of the interfacial potential energy barrier and the structural commensurateness between the solid walls and the first water layer. Our results suggest that the strain engineering is an effective way of controlling the water transport inside nanochannels. The resulting quantitative relations between shear stress and slip velocity and the understanding of the molecular mechanisms will be invaluable in designing graphene nanochannel devices.

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