Influence of substrate on ultrafast water transport property of multilayer graphene coatings

TC Kueh and H Yu and A Soh and HA Wu and YM Hung, NANOTECHNOLOGY, 31, 375704 (2020).

DOI: 10.1088/1361-6528/ab9864

The ultrafast water transport in graphene nanoplatelets (GNPs) coating is attributed to the low friction passages formed by pristine graphene and the hydrophilic functional groups which provide a strong interaction force to the water molecules. Here, we examine the influence of the supporting substrate on the ultrafast water transport property of multilayer graphene coatings experimentally and by computational modelling. Thermally cured GNPs manifesting ultrafast water permeation are coated on different substrate materials, namely aluminium, copper, iron and glass. The physical and chemical structures of the GNPs coatings which are affected by the substrate materials are characterized using various spectroscopy techniques. Experimentally, the water permeation and absorption tests evidence the significant influence of the substrate on the rapid water permeation property of GNPs-coating. The water transport rates of the GNPs coatings correspond to the wettability and the free surface energy of their substrates where the most hydrophilic substrate induces the highest water transport rate. In addition, we conduct molecular dynamics (MD) simulations to investigate the transport rate of water molecules through multilayer GNPs adjacent to different substrate materials. The MD simulations results agree well with the experimental results inferring the strong influence of the substrate materials on the fast water transport of GNPs. Therefore, selection of substrate has to be taken into consideration when the GNPs- coating is placed into applications.

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