Electric field controlled transport of water in graphene nano-channels
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Motivated by electrowetting-based flow control in nano-systems, water transport in graphene nano-channels is investigated as a function of the applied electric field. Molecular dynamics simulations are performed for deionized water confined in graphene nano-channels subjected to opposing surface charges, creating an electric field across the channel. Water molecules respond to the electric field by reorientation of their dipoles. Oxygen and hydrogen atoms in water face the anode and cathode, respectively, and hydrogen atoms get closer to the cathode compared to the oxygen atoms near the anode. These effects create asymmetric density distributions that increase with the applied electric field. Force-driven water flows under electric fields exhibit asymmetric velocity profiles and unequal slip lengths. Apparent viscosity of water increases and the slip length decreases with increased electric field, reducing the flow rate. Increasing the electric field above a threshold value freezes water at room temperature.