Fundamental dynamics of flow through carbon nanotube membranes

James Cannon, Ortwin Hess

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


The flow of a model non-polar liquid through small carbon nanotubes is studied using non-equilibrium molecular dynamics simulation. We explain how a membrane of small-diameter nanotubes can transport this liquid faster than a membrane consisting of larger-diameter nanotubes. This effect is shown to be back-pressure dependent, and the reasons for this are explored. The flow through the very smallest nanotubes is shown to depend strongly on the depth of the potential inside, suggesting atomic separation can be based on carbon interaction strength as well as physical size. Finally, we demonstrate how increasing the back-pressure can counter-intuitively result in lower exit velocities from a nanotube. Such studies are crucial for optimisation of nanotube membranes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-31
Number of pages11
JournalMicrofluidics and Nanofluidics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Materials Chemistry


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