New research now provides this thorough understanding, appearing as a pair of publications this week in The Journal of Chemical Physics, from AIP Publishing. The first paper deconstructs the molecular mechanics of osmosis with high concentrations, and generalizes the findings to predict behavior for arbitrary concentrations. The second piece of the study then simulates via molecular modeling two key forms of osmotic flow in a broadly utilizable way.

“Osmotic transport driven by salinity difference occurs across many biological systems, and it is also used in various industrial applications,” said Hiroaki Yoshida of the École Normale SupĂ©rieure (ENS) in France and Toyota Central R&D Labs, Inc., co-author of the paired publications. “The recent interest in its applications to micro- and nano-fluidic devices, such as for desalination, energy harvesting, and biomedical technology, just to name a few, boosts the growth of this research field.”

The group decided two publications would provide a more thorough and useful overview of their finding and its implications.

“In this context, what inspired us to start this work was the fact that, in such diverse situations, one encounters the limitation of existing theoretical frameworks for studying the osmotic transports,” Yoshida said. “It was urgent to extend the theories applicable to wider situations, and at the same time, it was necessary to develop a relevant computational method for numerical studies. Since these goals were equally important, we decided to deliver the two messages as a series of papers.”

The first article, “Osmotic and diffusio-osmotic flow generation at high solute concentration. I. Mechanical approaches,” is authored by Sophie Marbach, Hiroaki Yoshida and LydĂ©ric Bocquet. The article appeared in The Journal of Chemical Physics May 16, 2017 [DOI: 10.1063/1.4982221] and can be accessed at http://aip.scitation.org/doi/full/10.1063/1.4982221.

The second article, “Osmotic and diffusio-osmotic flow generation at high solute concentration. II. Molecular dynamics simulations,” is authored by Hiroaki Yoshida, Sophie Marbach and LydĂ©ric Bocquet. The article appeared in The Journal of Chemical Physics May 16, 2017 [DOI: 10.1063/1.4981794] and can be accessed at http://aip.scitation.org/doi/full/10.1063/1.4981794.