Molecular dynamics simulation is utilized to investigate the ionic transport of NaCl in solution through a graphene nanopore under an applied electric field. Results show the formation of concentration polarization layers in the vicinity of the graphene sheet. The nonuniformity of the ion distribution gives rise to an electric pressure which drives vortical motions in the fluid if the electric field is sufficiently strong to overcome the influence of viscosity and thermal fluctuations. The relative importance of hydrodynamic transport and thermal fluctuations in determining the pore conductivity is investigated. A second important effect that is observed is the mass transport of water through the nanopore, with an average velocity proportional to the applied voltage and independent of the pore diameter. The flux arises as a consequence of the asymmetry in the ion distribution which can be attributed to differing mobilities of the sodium and chlorine ions and to the polarity of water molecules. The accumulation of liquid molecules in the vicinity of the nanopore due to re-orientation of the water dipoles by the local electric field is seen to result in a local increase in the liquid density. Results confirm that the electric conductance is proportional to the nanopore diameter for the parameter regimes that we simulated. The occurrence of fluid vortices is found to result in an increase in the effective electrical conductance.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)
- Mechanics of Materials
- Mechanical Engineering
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering