Electric fields can control the transport of water in carbon nanotubes

Konstantinos Ritos, Matthew K. Borg, Nigel J. Mottram, Jason M. Reese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)
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The properties of water confined inside nanotubes are of considerable scientific and technological interest. We use molecular dynamics to investigate the structure and average orientation of water flowing within a carbon nanotube. We find that water exhibits biaxial paranematic liquid crystal ordering both within the nanotube and close to its ends. This preferred molecular ordering is enhanced when an axial electric field is applied, affecting the water flow rate through the nanotube. A spatially patterned electric field can minimize nanotube entrance effects and significantly increase the flow rate.
Original languageEnglish
Article number20150025
Number of pages19
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical Physical and Engineering Sciences
Issue number2060
Early online date28 Dec 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016


  • molecular dynamics
  • carbon nanotubes
  • electric fields
  • nanofluidics
  • liquid crystals
  • water transport


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