Physical Review E
American Physical Society
School of Engineering / Centre for Sustainable Energy and Resources
National Science Foundation
Thermodynamic properties of fluids confined in nanopores differ from those observed in the bulk. To investigate the effect of nanoconfinement on water compressibility, we perform water sorption experiments on two nanoporous glass samples while concomitantly measuring the speed of longitudinal and shear ultrasonic waves in these samples. These measurements yield the longitudinal and shear moduli of the water-laden nanoporous glass as a function of relative humidity that we utilize in the Gassmann theory to infer the bulk modulus of the confined water. This analysis shows that the bulk modulus (inverse of compressibility) of confined water is noticeably higher than that of the bulk water at the same temperature. Moreover, the modulus exhibits a linear dependence on the Laplace pressure. The results for water, which is a polar fluid, agree with previous experimental and numerical data reported for nonpolar fluids. This similarity suggests that irrespective of intermolecular forces, confined fluids are stiffer than bulk fluids. Accounting for fluid stiffening in nanopores may be important for accurate interpretation of wave propagation measurements in fluid-filled nanoporous media, including in petrophysics, catalysis, and other applications, such as in porous materials characterization.
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