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Weak electrolyte transport in nanochannels or nanopores has been actively explored in recent experiments. In this paper, we establish a new electrokinetic model where the ionization balance effect of weak electrolytes is outlined, and performed numerical calculations for H3PO4 concentration-biased nanochannel systems. By considering the roles of local chemical equilibrium in phosphorous acid ionization, the simulation results show quantitative agreement with experimental observations. Based on the model, we predict that enhanced energy harvesting capacity could be accomplished by utilizing weak electrolytes compared to the conventional strong electrolyte approaches in a concentration gradient-based power generating system.
PMID: 29708099 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]