Why are slip lengths so large in carbon nanotubes?
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A possible explanation for the enhanced flow in carbon nanotubes is given using a mathematical model that includes a depletion layer with reduced viscosity near the wall. In the limit of large tubes the model predicts no noticeable enhancement. For smaller tubes the model predicts enhancement that increases as the radius decreases. An analogy between the reduced viscosity and slip-length models shows that the term slip-length is misleading and that on surfaces which are smooth at the nanoscale it may be thought of as a length-scale associated with the size of the depletion region and viscosity ratio. The model therefore provides a physical interpretation of the classical Navier slip condition and explains why ‘slip-lengths’ may be greater than the tube radius.