Nonequilibrium atomistic molecular dynamics simulation of tubular nanomotor propelled by bubble propulsion

Viet Hoang Man, Mai Suan Li, Junmei Wang, Philippe Derreumaux, Phuong H. Nguyen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


We develop a molecular nanoscaled model for tubular motors propelled by bubble propulsion. The motor is modeled by a carbon nanotube, and the bubble is represented by a particle interacting with water by a time-dependent potential. Effects of liquid viscosity, fuel concentration, geometry, and size of the tube on the performance of the motor are effectively encoded into two parameters: time scales of the bubble expansion and bubble formation. Our results are qualitatively consistent with experimental data of much larger motors. Simulations suggest that (i) the displacement of the tube is optimized if two time scales are as short as possible, (ii) the compromise between the performance and fuel consumption is achieved if the bubble formation time is shorter than the velocity correlation time of the tube, (iii) the motor efficiency is higher with slow expansion, short formation of the bubble than fast growth but long formation time, and (iv) the tube is propelled by strong forces on the order of mN, reaching high speeds up to ∼60 m/s. Our simulation may be useful for refining and encouraging future experimental work on nanomotors having the size of a few nanometers. The tiny size and high speed motors could have great potential applications in real life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number024103
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 14 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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