Clogging and Unclogging of Hydrocarbon-Contaminated Nanochannels

Z Javdani and N Hassani and F Faraji and R Zhou and C Sun and B Radha and E Neyts and FM Peeters and M Neek-Amal, JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY LETTERS, 13, 11454-11463 (2022).

DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpclett.2c03016

The recent advantages of the fabrication of artificial nanochannels enabled new research on the molecular transport, permeance, and selectivity of various gases and molecules. However, the physisorption/chemisorption of the unwanted molecules (usually hydrocarbons) inside nanochannels results in the alteration of the functionality of the nanochannels. We investigated contamination due to hydrocarbon molecules, nanochannels made of graphene, hexagonal boron nitride, BC2N, and molybdenum disulfide using molecular dynamics simulations. We found that for a certain size of nanochannel (i.e., h = 0.7 nm), as a result of the anomalous hydrophilic nature of nanochannels made of graphene, the hydrocarbons are fully adsorbed in the nanochannel, giving rise to full uptake. An increasing temperature plays an important role in unclogging, while pressure does not have a significant role. The results of our pioneering work contribute to a better understanding and highlight the important factors in alleviating the contamination and unclogging of nanochannels, which are in good agreement with the results of recent experiments.

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