The hollow inside of a carbon nanotube (CNT) has great potential not only for flow rate enhancement of nanocapillary, but also for a material container which can be applied for drug delivery and nanoparticle infusion. However, these applications focus on after liquid infusion into CNTs, whereas the understanding of the filling process is still limited. We conducted capillary filling experiments using individual open-ended CNTs, which were stuck into an ionic liquid and visualized by scanning transmission electron microscopy. The results showed that the meniscus stopped inside the CNT, which is not predicted by the Lucas-Washburn equation. To explain this discrepancy, the intermolecular force between the liquid and CNT inner wall was proposed to provide an additional friction force. In addition, voids were observed in the liquid inside the CNT. The generation mechanism of voids was proposed to be induced by the instability of the thin liquid layer along the CNT inner surface caused by the advance of the three-phase contact line. The results of the present study increase our understanding of nanoscale capillary action.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films