Carbon nanotubes are becoming increasingly viable as membranes for application in a wide variety of nano-fluidic applications, such as nano-scale nozzles. For potential applications that utilize switching on and off of flow through nanotube nozzles, it is important to understand the initial flow dynamics. Furthermore, when the nanotube interacts strongly with the fluid, the flow may be very different from conventional simulations, which consider atoms (such as argon, for example) that interact only weakly with the nanotube. Therefore, to better understand such flows and explore the potential manipulation of flow that can be achieved, we consider the initial flow dynamics of a light fluid through carbon nanotube nozzles, using non-equilibrium molecular dynamics simulations. Our studies show that if the conditions are controlled carefully, unusual phenomena can be generated, such as pulsed flow and very nonlinear increases in flow rate with nanotube diameter. We detail the physical reasons for such phenomena and describe how the pulsation can be controlled using temperature.
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