Review Articles

Activation of Nanoflows for Fuel Cells

[+] Author and Article Information
Z. Insepov

Argonne National Laboratory,
9700 South Cass Avenue,
Argonne, IL 60439;
Purdue University,
400 Central Drive,
West Lafayette, IN 47907
e-mail: insepov@anl.gov; zinsepov@purdue.edu

R. J. Miller

14 Oakwood Place,
Delmar, NY 12054
e-mail: rmiller@clerisity.com

Manuscript received May 6, 2012; final manuscript received September 15, 2012; published online October 15, 2012. Assoc. Editor: Quan Wang.The United States Government retains, and by accepting the article for publication, the publisher acknowledges that the United States Government retains, for itself, and others acting on its behalf, a paid-up nonexclusive, irrevocable worldwide license in said article to reproduce, prepare derivative works, distribute copies to the public, and perform publicly and display publicly, by or on behalf of the Government.

J. Nanotechnol. Eng. Med 3(2), 025201 (Oct 15, 2012) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4007761 History: Received May 06, 2012; Revised September 15, 2012

Propagation of Rayleigh traveling waves from a gas on a nanotube surface activates a macroscopic flow of the gas (or gases) that depends critically on the atomic mass of the gas. Our molecular dynamics simulations show that the surface waves are capable of actuating significant macroscopic flows of atomic and molecular hydrogen, helium, and a mixture of both gases both inside and outside carbon nanotubes (CNT). In addition, our simulations predict a new “nanoseparation” effect when a nanotube is filled with a mixture of two gases with different masses or placed inside a volume filled with a mixture of several gases with different masses. The mass selectivity of the nanopumping can be used to develop a highly selective filter for various gases. Gas flow rates, pumping, and separation efficiencies were calculated at various wave frequencies and phase velocities of the surface waves. The nanopumping effect was analyzed for its applicability to actuate nanofluids into fuel cells through carbon nanotubes.

Copyright © 2012 by ASME
Your Session has timed out. Please sign back in to continue.


Dillon, A. C., Jones, K. M., Bekkedahl, T. A., Kiang, C. H., Bethune, D. S., and Heben, M. J., 1997, “Storage of Hydrogen in Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes,” Nature, 386, pp. 377–379. [CrossRef]
Liu, C., Fan, Y. Y., Liu, M., Cong, H. T., Cheng, H. M., and Dresselhaus, M. S., 1999, “Hydrogen Storage in Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes at Room Temperature,” Science, 286(5442), pp. 1127–1129. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Chen, P., Wu, X., Lin, J., and Tan, K. L., “High H2 Uptake by Alkali-Doped Carbon Nanotubes Under Ambient Pressure and Moderate Temperatures,” Science, 285, pp. 91–92. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Ye, Y., Ahn, C. C., Witham, C., Fultz, B., Liu, J., Rinzler, A. G., Colbert, D., Smith, K. A., and Smalley, R. E., “Hydrogen Adsorption and Cohesive Energy of Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes,” Appl. Phys. Lett., 74, pp. 2307–2309. [CrossRef]
Dillon, A. C., Gennet, T., Alleman, J. L., Jones, K. M., Parilla, P. A., and Heben, M. J., 2000, “Carbon Nanotube Materials for Hydrogen Storage,” Conference Proceedings on US DOE Hydrogen Program Review.
Dillon, A. C., and Heben, M. J., 2001, “Hydrogen Storage Using Carbon Adsorbents: Past, Present and Future,” Appl. Phys. A, 72, pp. 133–142. [CrossRef]
Meregalli, V., and Parinello, M., 2001, “Hydrogen Storage Using Carbon Adsorbents: Past, Present and Future,” Appl. Phys. A, 72(2), pp. 129–132. [CrossRef]
Li, J., Furuta, T., Goto, H., Ohashi, T., Fujiwara, Y., and Yip, S., 2003, “Theoretical Evaluation of Hydrogen Storage Capacity in Pure Carbon Nanostructures,” J. Chem. Phys., 119, pp. 2376–2385. [CrossRef]
Zuttel, A., Nutzenadel, C., Sudan, P., Mauron, P., Emmenegger, C., Rentsch, S., Schlapbach, L., Weidenkaff, A., and Kiyobayashi, T., 2002, “Hydrogen Sorption by Carbon Nanotubes and Other Carbon Nanostructures,” J. Alloys Compd., 330–332, pp. 676–682. [CrossRef]
Schlapbach, L., and Zuttel, A., 2001, “Hydrogen-Storage Materials for Mobile Applications,” Nature, 414, pp. 353–358. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Hydrogen, Fuel Cells & Infrastructure Technologies Program Multi-Year Research, Development and Demonstration Plan, Feb. 2005, http://www1.eere.energy.gov/hydrogenandfuelcells/mypp/
Darhuber, A. A., and Troian, S. M., 2005, “Principles of Microfluidic Actuation by Modulation of Surface Stresses,” Annu. Rev. Fluid Mech., 37, pp. 425–455. [CrossRef]
Telschow, K. L., Deason, V. A., Cottle, D. L., and Larson, J. D., III, 2000, “UHF Acoustic Microscopic Imaging of Resonator Motion,” Proceedings of IEEE Ultrasonics Symposium, Puerto Rico, Paper No. 3I-3. [CrossRef]
Barrat, J. L., and Bocquet, L., 1999, “Influence of Wetting Properties on Hydrodynamic Boundary Conditions at a Fluid/Solid Interface,” Faraday Discuss., 112, pp. 119–127. [CrossRef]
Thompson, P. A., and Troian, S. N., 1997, “A General Boundary Condition for Liquid Flow at Solid Surfaces,” Nature, 389, pp. 360–362. [CrossRef]
Priezjev, N. V., and Troian, S. M., 2004, “Molecular Origin and Dynamic Behavior of Slip in Sheared Polymer Films,” Phys. Rev. Lett., 92, p. 018302. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Thorsen, T., Maerkl, S. J., and Quake, S. R., 2002, “Microfluidic Large-Scale Integration,” Science, 298, pp. 580–584. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Bitsanis, I., Magda, J. J., Tirrel, M., and Davis, H. T., 1987, “Molecular Dynamics of Flow in Micropores,” J. Chem. Phys., 87, pp. 1733–1750. [CrossRef]
Zengerle, R., and Richter, M., 1994, “Simulation of Microfluid Systems,” J. Micromech. Microeng., 4, pp. 192–204. [CrossRef]
Prins, M. W. J., Welters, W. J. J., and Weekamp, J. W., 2001, “Fluid Control in Multichannel Structures by Electrocapillary Pressure,” Science, 291, pp. 277–280. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Tuzun, R. E., Noid, D. W., Sumpter, B. G., and Merkle, R. C., 1996, “Dynamics of Fluid Flow Inside Carbon Nanotubes,” Nanotechnology, 7, pp. 241–246. [CrossRef]
Ni, B., Sinnot, S. B., Mikulski, P. T., and Harrison, J. A., 2002, “Compression of Carbon Nanotubes Filled With C60, CH4, or Ne: Predictions From Molecular Dynamics Simulations,” Phys. Rev. Lett., 88, p. 205505. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Supple, S., and Quirke, N., 2003, “Rapid Imbibition of Fluids in Carbon Nanotubes,” Phys. Rev. Lett., 90, p. 214501. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Supple, S., and Quirke, N., 2004, “Molecular Dynamics of Transient Oil Flows in Nanopores. I: Imbibition Speeds for Single Wall Carbon Nanotubes,” J. Chem. Phys., 121, pp. 8571–8579. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Wang, Q., 2009, “Transportation of Hydrogen Molecules Using Carbon Nanotubes in Torsion,” Carbon, 47, pp. 1867–1885. [CrossRef]
Wang, Q., 2009, “Separation of Atoms With Carbon Nanotubes,” Carbon, 47, pp. 2752–2760. [CrossRef]
Wang, Q., 2009, “Atomic Transportation via Carbon Nanotubes,” Nano Lett., 9, pp. 245–249. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Duan, W. H., and Wang, Q., 2010, “Water Transport With a Carbon Nanotube Pump,” ASC Nano, 4, pp. 2338–2344. [CrossRef]
Zhang, H. W., Zhang, Z. Q., Wang, L., Zheng, Y. G., Wang, J. B., and Wang, Z. K., 2007, “Pressure Control Model for Transport of Liquid Mercury in Carbon Nanotubes,” Appl. Phys. Lett., 90(14), p. 144105. [CrossRef]
Fan, R., Karnik, R., Yue, M., Li, D., Majumdar, A., and Yang, P., 2005, “DNA Translocation in Inorganic Nanotubes,” Nano Lett., 5, pp. 1633–1637. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Kral, P., and Tomanek, D., 1999, “Laser-Driven Atomic Pump,” Phys. Rev. Lett., 82, pp. 5373–5376. [CrossRef]
Svensson, K., Olin, H., and Olsson, E., 2004, “Nanopipettes for Metal Transport,” Phys. Rev. Lett., 93, p. 145901. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Stan, G., and Cole, M. W., 1998, “Low Coverage Adsorption in Cylindrical Pores,” Surf. Sci., 395, pp. 280–291. [CrossRef]
Simonyan, V. V., and Johnson, J. K., 2002, “Hydrogen Storage in Carbon Nanotubes and Graphitic Nanofibers,” J. Alloys Compd., 330–332, pp. 659–665. [CrossRef]
Zhao, Y., Kim, Y.-H., Dillon, A. C., Heben, M. J., and Zhang, S. B., 2005, “Hydrogen Storage in Novel Organometallic Buckyballs,” Phys. Rev. Lett., 94, p. 155504. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Hirscher, M., Becher, M., Haluska, M., von Zeppelin, F., Chen, X., Dettlaff-Welikogowska, U., and Roth, S. J., 2003, “Are Carbon Nanostructures an Efficient Hydrogen Storage Medium?,” Alloys Compd., 356–357, pp. 433–437. [CrossRef]
Skoulidas, A. I., Ackerman, D. M., Johnson, J. K., and Sholl, D. S., 2002, “Rapid Transport of Gases in Carbon Nanotubes,” Phys. Rev. Lett., 89, p. 185901. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Clausing, P., 1971, “The Flow of Highly Rarefied Gases Through Tubes of Arbitrary Length,” J. Vac. Sci. Technol., 8, pp. 636–646. [CrossRef]
Sone, Y., Waniguchi, Y., and Aoki, K., 1996, “One-Way Flow of a Rarefied Gas Induced in a Channel With a Periodic Temperature Distribution,” Phys. Fluids, 8, pp. 2227–2235. [CrossRef]
Lereu, A. L., Passian, A., Warmack, R. J., Ferrell, T. L., and Thundat, T., 2004, “Effect of Thermal Variations on the Knudsen Forces in the Transitional Regime,” Appl. Phys. Lett., 84, pp. 1013–1015. [CrossRef]
Gupta, N. K., and Gianchandani, Y. B., 2008, “Thermal Transpiration in Zeolites: A Mechanism for Motionless Gas Pumps,” Appl. Phys. Lett., 93, p. 193511. [CrossRef]
Clorennec, D., and Royer, D., 2003, “Analysis of Surface Acoustic Wave Propagation on a Cylinder Using Laser Ultrasonics,” Appl. Phys. Lett., 82, pp. 4608–4610. [CrossRef]
Natsuki, T., Hayashi, T., and Endo, M., 2005, “Wave Propagation of Carbon Nanotubes Embedded in an Elastic Medium,” J. Appl. Phys., 97, p. 044307. [CrossRef]
Tsukahara, Y., Nakaso, N., Cho, H., and Yamanaka, K., 2000, “Observation of Diffraction-Free Propagation of Surface Acoustic Waves Around a Homogeneous Isotropic Solid Sphere,” Appl. Phys. Lett., 77, pp. 2926–2928. [CrossRef]
Clorennec, D., Royer, D., and Walaszek, H., 2002, “Nondestructive Evaluation of Cylindrical Parts Using Laser Ultrasonics,” Ultrasonics, 40, pp. 783–789. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Viktorov, I. A., 1967, Rayleigh and Lamb Waves: Physical Theory and Applications, Plenum, New York.
Hwang, D. P., 1997, “A Proof of Concept Experiment for Reducing Skin Friction by Using a Micro-Blowing Technique,” NASA Techn. Memo. Report No. NASA-TM-107315, Paper No. AIAA-97-0546.
Carpenter, P. W., Davies, C., and Lucey, A. D., 2006, “Hydrodynamics and Complaint Walls: Does the Dolphin Have a Secret?,” Current Sci., 79, pp. 758–765. Available at [CrossRef]
Insepov, Z., Wolf, D., and Hassanein, A., 2006, “Nanopumping Using Carbon Nanotubes,” Nano Lett., 6, pp. 1893–1895. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Insepov, Z., 2009, “New Nanopumping Effects With Carbon Nanotubes,” Recent Developments in Modeling and Applications of Carbon Nanotubes, Transworld Research Network, Kerala, India, Chap. 1, pp. 1–14.
Wang, X., Liu, Y., and Zhu, D., 2001, “Controlled Growth of Well-Aligned Carbon Nanotubes With Large Diameters,” Chem. Phys. Lett., 340, pp. 419–424. [CrossRef]
Yang, Q., Xiao, C., Chen, W., and Hirose, A., 2004, “Selective Growth of Diamond and Carbon Nanostructures by Hot Filament Chemical Vapor Deposition,” Diamond Relat. Mater., 13, pp. 433–437. [CrossRef]


Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Various instants (from left to right) are shown from an initial 44 fs (Fig. 1(a)) to final 18 ps (Fig. 1(d))

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

(a) Dependence of flow rate through the activated nanotubes on the simulation time for various wave frequencies: 1011–1013 Hz. (b) Average flow velocity versus time, for various wave frequencies (1 atom/ps = 2.4 × 10−4 sccm).

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

The dependence of the maximum flow rate on the frequency of the traveling wave for three different nanotube lengths L = 50, 100, and 150 Å, for two oscillation magnitudes: 1.5% and 3% of the nanotube radius

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

Number of helium and hydrogen atoms that moved to the right side (the direction of the traveling surface wave) during the nanopumping by activated surface waves on the nanotube surface. Initially, 128 gas atoms were randomly placed inside the {15 × 0} carbon nanotube (64 helium and 64 hydrogen atoms). After 35 ps of generation of the Rayleigh (traveling) waves on the nanotube surface, almost all the hydrogen atoms were removed by the interaction with the walls, and only helium atoms are left.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

The gas-separation effect strongly depends on the atomic masses of gases, wave frequency, and phase velocity of the surface wave: (top) the initial position of 128 gas atoms inside the carbon nanotube (64 helium and 64 hydrogen atoms); (bottom) position after 35 ps of generation of the Rayleigh (traveling) waves on the nanotube surface: only helium atoms are left, and all hydrogen atoms are gone. (The direction of the surface wave is from left to right.)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 6

Gas-separation effect for two gases placed outside the nanotube: (top) initial positions of 256 gas atoms outside the carbon nanotube (128 helium and 128 hydrogen atoms, open symbols are for helium and full symbols—for hydrogen); (bottom) position after 140 ps of generation of the Rayleigh (traveling) waves on the nanotube surface, showing a separation between them: the helium atoms mostly move to left (opposite direction to the wave movement), and the hydrogen atoms move to right direction (the wave direction)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 7

Weaker gas-separation effect found for two gases placed outside the carbon nanotube. The solid symbols are for the hydrogen full flux in the direction of the wave (from left to right in Fig. 6). The open symbols are for helium atoms showing that helium atoms are moving backward, in opposite direction to the wave movement.



Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging and repositioning the boxes below.

Related Journal Articles
Related eBook Content
Topic Collections

Sorry! You do not have access to this content. For assistance or to subscribe, please contact us:

  • TELEPHONE: 1-800-843-2763 (Toll-free in the USA)
  • EMAIL: asmedigitalcollection@asme.org
Sign In