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An acoustic levitator for single droplet evaporation kinetics

Author Affiliations

  • 1Department of Chemistry, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, Tallahassee, FL 32307, USA
  • 2Department of Chemistry, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, Tallahassee, FL 32307, USA
  • 3Department of Chemistry, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, Tallahassee, FL 32307, USA
  • 4Department of Chemistry, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, Tallahassee, FL 32307, USA

Res.J.chem.sci., Volume 10, Issue (2), Pages 32-37, June,18 (2020)


Evaporation kinetics of methanol, hexafluoroisopropanol, and polyethylene oxide solutions under microgravity condition were investigated utilizing an acoustic levitator and a fast-frame CCD camera. Two different regimes of evaporation kinetics were measured experimentally for both solvents. Two distinct rate constants were determined in the range of 10-3 s-1, with overall slower decay for methanol. Total evaporation times for microliter volumes of methanol were measured under container-less acoustic levitation and compared with the evaporation times under container processed normal laboratory conditions. Significant differences in the evaporation time and trend were observed. A typical 4 μL sample of methanol evaporation time increased from 5 minutes to 45 minutes, from normal laboratory conditions to levitation. While a linear trend was observed under normal conditions, a logarithmic trend was observed under levitation. These experiments demonstrate difference in air-liquid interface dynamics due to difference in gravity and contact surface. The extended evaporation time under levitation condition can be utilized to perform and monitor reactions in a droplet which may otherwise be limited due to short droplet lifetime. Such extended lifetimes and microgravity conditions can be used in distinct evnironments, such as crystallization and aggregation of proteins and polymers from solutions. The set up described here can be used as a ground-based microgravity simulation device, which can quickly screen the chemical reactions to limit the payload for more expensive experiments at the international space station.


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