Traffic jams — from the backseat while driving on the highway, in line for lunch, walking through New York City — trying to get to a store with a mega-sale on Black Friday — man, I hate traffic jams! they’re slow everything down, but that’s not the case for molecules! Check out the Science Daily article by clicking here!

New research by Northwestern University researches finds that water molecules traveling throuh tiny carbon nanotube pipes do not flow continuously but actually more like stop-and-go traffic.

“Previous molecular dynamics simulations suggested that water molecules coursing through carbon nanotubes are evenly spaced and move in lockstep with one another,” said Seth Lichter, professor of mechanical engineering at Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science. “But our model shows that they actually move intermittently, enabling surprisingly high flow rates of 10 billion molecules per second or more.”

In 2005, researchers, assuming that water molecules move through channels in a constant stream, were surprised to discover that water in carbon nanotubes traveled 10,000 times faster than predicted. These findings could resolve this baffling quandary.

Nanochannels are found in all of our cells, where they regulate fluid flow across cell membranes. They also have promising industrial applications for desalinating water.

Chemistry is so baffling! ¬†Imagine if traffic jams made humans move faster, too? Wouldn’t that be convenient!


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