Molecular effects in membrane fluid transport
Differences in the rates at which different molecular species in a multicomponent fluid mixture traverse a porous membrane in response to an external driving force (e.g. a gradient in pressure, concentration, or temperature) are central to processes such as filtration, desalination, and energy harvesting from salinity gradients.
The efficiency and energy consumption or generation rates of these processes are sensitive to the molecular fluxes across the membrane, which in turn depend on interactions between the fluid and membrane molecules.
The aim of this project is to develop a general theoretical understanding of the fluid and membrane parameters that control membrane transport processes and to investigate deviations from continuum hydrodynamics predictions due to molecular effects, which could potentially be harnessed to optimise these processes.
The project will address these issues using non-equilibrium molecular simulation algorithms for concentration-gradient-driven flow and finite-element continuum hydrodynamics simulations.