Transformative technologies for desalination and chemical separations call for understanding molecular transport through man-made and biological nanochannels. Using numerical simulation of single-file flow of water through carbon nanotubes, we find that flow is due to fast-moving density variations (solitons) that are additive so flow rate is proportional to number of solitons. Simulation results match predictions from a theoretical model for soliton propagation. From 1-300 K flow rates increase as temperature decreases. Our results build a fundamentally new understanding of nanochannel flows and suggest new principles for the design of nanoscale devices.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)