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Fundamental study of nanofluidic transport : or How to reinvent the colander

Abstract : Filtering specific molecules is a challenge faced for several vital needs: from biomedical applications like dialysis to the intensive production of clean water. The domain has been boosted over the last decades by the possibilities offered by nanoscale materials. Filtration is however always designed according to a sieving perspective: a membrane with small and properly decorated pores allows for the selection of the targeted molecules. This inevitably impedes the flux and transport, making separation processes costly in terms of energy. Here I investigate several innovative approaches to separation and filtration. I draw inspiration from biological systems (the human kidney, biological channels like aquaporins) and rationalize some new concepts for sieving, based on simple models. These approaches rely on different alternative strategies: either exploring new topologies or the idea of active sieving, with dynamically responsive channels and pores. All these principles could be readily mimicked using existing technologies to build artificial dialysis devices or alternatives for advanced water recycling. In a broader perspective, these approaches open fundamental questions in the fields of statistical physics and fluid dynamics. In particular, traditional in equilibrium quantities like osmotic pressure and permeability are not defined when the pore has an active component, yet one easily imagines that such concepts could be extended to these out-of equilibrium situations. This has numerous consequences on filtration and desalination, but also on ionic pumping and sorting.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, September 19, 2018 - 4:12:13 PM
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  • HAL Id : tel-01877361, version 1

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Sophie Marbach. Fundamental study of nanofluidic transport : or How to reinvent the colander. Data Analysis, Statistics and Probability [physics.data-an]. Université Paris sciences et lettres, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018PSLEE007⟩. ⟨tel-01877361⟩

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