Electrolyte transport in nanochannels plays an important role in a number of emerging areas. Using non-equilibrium molecular dynamics (NEMD) simulations, the fundamental transport behavior of an electrolyte/water solution in a confined model nanoenvironment is systematically investigated by varying the nanochannel dimension, solid phase, electrolyte phase, ion concentration and transport rate. It is found that the shear resistance encountered by the nanofluid strongly depends on these material/system parameters; furthermore, several effects are coupled. The mechanisms of the nanofluidic transport characteristics are explained by considering the unique molecular/ion structure formed inside the nanochannel. The lower shear resistance observed in some of the systems studies could be beneficial for nanoconductors, while the higher shear resistance (or higher effective viscosity) observed in other systems might enhance the performance of energy dissipation devices.
The work is supported by the NSF under grant no. CMMI0643726 (XC) and CMS-0409521 (PJC). QZ and XC are supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (50928601). XC is also supported by a World Class University (WCU) program through the National Research Foundation of Korea funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology of Korea (R32-2008-000-20042-0) and the Changjiang Scholar Program of Ministry of Education of China. YL and XC appreciate funding from the International cooperation project of Tsinghua University (20091081236).