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Researchers clarify properties of 'confined' water within single-walled carbon nanotube pores
Date:6/22/2011

COLLEGE PARK, MD (June 22, 2011)Water and ice may not be among the first things that come to mind when you think about single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs), but a Japan-based research team hoping to get a clearer understanding of the phase behavior of confined water in the cylindrical pores of carbon nanotubes zeroed in on confined water's properties and made some surprising discoveries.

The team, from Tokyo Metropolitan University, Nagoya University, Japan Science and Technology Agency, and National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, describes their findings in the American Institute of Physics' Journal of Chemical Physics.

Although carbon nanotubes consist of hydrophobic (water repelling) graphene sheets, experimental studies on SWCNTs show that water can indeed be confined in open-ended carbon nanotubes.

This discovery gives us a deeper understanding of the properties of nanoconfined water within the pores of SWCNTs, which is a key to the future of nanoscience. It's anticipated that nanoconfined water within carbon nanotubes can open the door to the development of a variety of nifty new nanothingsnanofiltration systems, molecular nanovalves, molecular water pumps, nanoscale power cells, and even nanoscale ferroelectric devices.

"When materials are confined at the atomic scale they exhibit unusual properties not otherwise observed, due to the so-called 'nanoconfinement effect.' In geology, for example, nanoconfined water provides the driving force for frost heaves in soil, and also for the swelling of clay minerals," explains Yutaka Maniwa, a professor in the Department of Physics at Tokyo Metropolitan University. "We experimentally studied this type of effect for water using SWCNTs."

Water within SWCNTs in the range of 1.68 to 2.40 nanometers undergoes a wet-dry type of transition when temperature is decreased. And the team discovered that when SWCNTs are extremely narrow, the
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Contact: Charles E. Blue
cblue@aip.org
301-209-3091
American Institute of Physics
Source:Eurekalert  

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