The dynamic response, as caused by thermal stimulation, of aqueous liquid attoliter volumes contained inside multiwall carbon nanotubes is investigated theoretically and experimentally. The experiments indicate an energetically driven mechanism responsible for the dynamic multiphase fluid behavior visualized under high resolution in the transmission electron microscope. The theoretical model is formulated using a continuum approach, which combines temperature-dependent diffusion with intermolecular interactions in the fluid bulk, as well as in the vicinity of the carbon wall. Intermolecular van der Waals forces are modeled by Lennard-Jones 12-6 potentials. Comparisons between theoretical predictions and experimental data demonstrate the ability of the model to describe the major trends observed in the experiments. (C) 2005 American Institute of Physics.