A computational assessment of the permeability and salt rejection of carbon nanotube membranes and their application to water desalination.
In this work, using quantum partial charges, computed from 6-31G(**)B3LYP density functional theory, in molecular dynamics simulations, we found that water inside (6,6) and (10,0) single-walled carbon nanotubes with similar diameters but with different chiralities has remarkably different structural and dynamical properties. Density functional calculations indicate that tubes with different chiralities have significantly different partial charges at the ends of tubes. The partial charges at the ends of a (10,0) tube are around 4.5 times higher than those of a (6,6) tube. Molecular dynamics simulations with the partial charges show different water dipole orientations. In the (10,0) tube, dipole vectors of water molecules at the end of the tube point towards the water reservoir resulting in the formation of an L defect in the center region. This is not observed in the (6,6) tube where dipole vectors of all the water molecules inside the tube point towards either the top or the bottom water reservoir. The water diffusion coefficient is found to increase in the presence of the partial charges. Water in the partially charged (10,0) tube has a lower diffusion coefficient compared to that of in the partially charged (6,6) tube.