Nanopore wall effect on surface tension of methane
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2015 Taylor & Francis. Local pressure is known to be anisotropic across the interfaces separating fluids in equilibrium. Tangential pressure profiles show characteristic negative peaks as a result of surface tension forces parallel to the interface. Nearby attractive forces parallel to the interface are larger than the repulsive forces and, hence, constitute the surface tension. In this work, using molecular dynamics simulations of methane inside nano-scale pores, we show this surface tension behaviour could be significantly influenced by confinement effects. The layering structure, characterised by damped oscillations in local liquid density and tangential pressures, extends deep into the pore and can be a few nanometers thick. The surface tension is measured numerically using local pressures across the interface. Results show that the tension is smaller under confinement and becomes a variable in small pores, mainly controlled by the thickness of the liquid density layering (or liquid saturation) and the pore width. If the liquid saturation inside the pore is high enough, the vapour-liquid interface is not interfered by the pore wall and the surface tension remains the same as the bulk values. The results are important for understanding phase change and multi-phase transport phenomena in nanoporous materials.