Fluidity of water and of hydrated ions confined between solid surfaces to molecularly thin films

Jacob Klein*, Uri Raviv, Susan Perkin, Nir Kampf, Liraz Chai, Suzanne Giasson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


In contrast to non-associating liquids such as oils or organic solvents, whose viscosity diverges when they are confined by solid surfaces to films thinner than about ten molecular diameters, recent studies reveal that salt-free water remains fluid, with a viscosity close to its bulk value, even when confined to films down to only one or two monolayers thick. For the case of high concentration aqueous salt solutions compressed down to subnanometre films between confining planar surfaces, the hydration sheaths about the ions (trapped between the oppositely charged surfaces) also remain extremely fluid: this behaviour is attributed to the tenacity of water molecules in the hydration layers together with their rapid relaxation/exchange time. Related experiments on highly compressed, polyelectrolyte brushes in aqueous media reveal a remarkable lubricity which is in large measure attributed to similar hydration layers about the charged segments: this water of hydration strongly resists being squeezed out, but at the same time it may rapidly exchange with adjacent water molecules, thereby remaining quite fluid and acting as a molecular lubricant.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)S5437-S5448
JournalJournal of Physics Condensed Matter
Issue number45
StatePublished - 17 Nov 2004
Externally publishedYes


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