Hydrodynamic slip can align thin nanoplatelets in shear flow

Catherine Kamal, Simon Gravelle, Lorenzo Botto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
15 Downloads (Pure)


The large-scale processing of nanomaterials such as graphene and MoS2 relies on understanding the flow behaviour of nanometrically-thin platelets suspended in liquids. Here we show, by combining non-equilibrium molecular dynamics and continuum simulations, that rigid nanoplatelets can attain a stable orientation for sufficiently strong flows. Such a stable orientation is in contradiction with the rotational motion predicted by classical colloidal hydrodynamics. This surprising effect is due to hydrodynamic slip at the liquid-solid interface and occurs when the slip length is larger than the platelet thickness; a slip length of a few nanometers may be sufficient to observe alignment. The predictions we developed by examining pure and surface-modified graphene is applicable to different solvent/2D material combinations. The emergence of a fixed orientation in a direction nearly parallel to the flow implies a slip-dependent change in several macroscopic transport properties, with potential impact on applications ranging from functional inks to nanocomposites.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2425
Number of pages10
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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