Nanofluidic Adventures at the Liquid-solid Interface

Gerald Wang, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Photo of Gerald Wang

Nanoconfined fluids can differ significantly from their macroscale counterparts. Two areas of particular engineering interest are the equilibrium structure and transport properties of nanoconfined fluids. In both cases, the deviations from macroscale behavior can be dramatic. Elucidating the fundamental physics underlying these nanofluidic anomalies is important for a variety of nanoengineering applications. These include developing nano-desalination devices, designing nano-channels for biomedical applications, enhancing chemical-sensing technology and extracting and storing fluids in nanoporous media.

We present several results regarding a first-principles approach for calculating equilibrium structure and transport properties for fluids under nanoconfinement. In particular, we focus on fluid confined within carbon nanotubes and between graphene sheets. These methods are derived using a combination of molecular mechanics and statistical physics techniques and can reduce the computational time for calculating nanofluidic properties by up to an order of magnitude. We also will present the results of molecular dynamics simulations that measure both equilibrium and transport properties of fluids over a broad range of confinement conditions. These simulation results, along with experimental results from the literature, strongly support the theoretical predictions.

Abstract Author(s): G.J. Wang, N.G. Hadjiconstantinou