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Kinetically Forbidden Transformations of Water Molecular Assemblies in Hydrophobic Micropores

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journal contribution
posted on 2011-06-21, 00:00 authored by Tomonori Ohba, Katsumi Kaneko
Water adsorption hysteresis is one of the most important phenomena observed during the interaction of water with hydrophobic surfaces. Adsorption hysteresis in micropores has strong relevance to the structure of adsorbed water. We used three typical models (cluster, monolayer, and uniform distribution structure models) to determine the structure of the water molecules adsorbed in hydrophobic slit-shaped carbon micropores. In each model, stabilization energy profiles were calculated for various fractional fillings by using the interaction potential theory. Simultaneously, molecular dynamics (MD) simulations of water adsorbed in the micropore of 1.1 nm pore width, which shows significant adsorption hysteresis, were performed to determine the kinetics of the observed structural transformations. The transformations between monolayer and cluster were slow, that is, kinetically forbidden at the fractional filling of 0.2 and 0.6, whereas the cluster–uniform distribution structure and uniform distribution structure–monolayer transformations were kinetically allowed. The kinetically forbidden transformation resulted in the occurrence of metastable structure of adsorbed water and was responsible for the observed adsorption hysteresis.