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Fluidity of Bound Hydration Layers

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Science  30 Aug 2002:
Vol. 297, Issue 5586, pp. 1540-1543
DOI: 10.1126/science.1074481

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Abstract

We have measured the shear forces between solid surfaces sliding past each other across aqueous salt solutions, at pressures and concentrations typical of naturally occurring systems. In such systems the surface-attached hydration layers keep the compressed surfaces apart as a result of strongly repulsive hydration forces. We find, however, that the bound water molecules retain a shear fluidity characteristic of the bulk liquid, even when compressed down to films 1.0 ± 0.3 nanometer thick. We attribute this to the ready exchange (as opposed to loss) of water molecules within the hydration layers as they rub past each other under strong compression.

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