Molecular Transporters for Desalination Applications
Final rept. 18 May 2009-17 Feb 2014
KENTUCKY UNIV LEXINGTON
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The primary goal of the Molecular Transporter program was to develop a precise platform to mimic protein channels and enzyme reaction sites. In particular a grand challenge is to orientate the target substrate molecule with angstrom scale precision of functional placement at pore entrances. Notable examples in nature are the aquaporin channel that can flip the orientation of pure water target 180 deg and thus prevent hydronium ion i.e. pH passage as well as ion exclusion. Nearly all enzyme catalyst require precise substrate binding sites that allow precise placement of reaction bond over catalyst site. Furthermore protein channels support dramatic nanofluidic flow enhancement due to the ordering of fluid through channel and short path length across the lipid bi-layer. The approach here was to have single wall carbon nanotubes SWCNT with exact stoichiometric diameter control serve as platform for bio-mimetic gatekeepers. In particular mimicking aquaporin channels with a single-file column of water passing through CNT core that supports near perfect slip boundary flow. Of particular importance to DoD mission is to have compact and energy efficient desalination units. In particular with CNTs of 2wt loading, 100 fold reduction in membrane area is expected.
- Physical Chemistry