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Generation and Observation of Long-Lasting and Self-Sustaining Marangoni Flow.

Journal Contribution - e-publication

When solute molecules in a liquid evaporate at the surface, concentration gradients can lead to surface tension gradients and provoke fluid convection at the interface, a phenomenon commonly known as the Marangoni effect. Here, we demonstrate that minute quantities of ethanol in concentrated sodium hydroxide solution can induce pronounced and long-lasting Marangoni flow upon evaporation at room temperature. By employing particle image velocimetry and gravimetric analysis, we show that the mean interfacial speed of the evaporating solution sensitively increases with the evaporation rate for ethanol concentrations lower than 0.5 mol %. Placing impermeable objects near the liquid-gas interface enforces steady concentration gradients, thereby promoting the formation of stationary flows. This allows for contact-free control of the flow pattern as well as its modification by altering the objects shape. Analysis of bulk flows reveals that the energy of evaporation in the case of stationary flows is converted to kinetic fluid energy with high efficiency, but reducing the sodium hydroxide concentration drastically suppresses the observed effect to the point where flows become entirely absent. Investigating the properties of concentrated sodium hydroxide solution suggests that ethanol dissolution in the bulk is strongly limited. At the surface, however, the co-solvent is efficiently stored, enabling rapid adsorption or desorption of the alcohol depending on its concentration in the adjacent gas phase. This facilitates the generation of large surface tension gradients and, in combination with the perpetual replenishment of the surface ethanol concentration by bulk convection, to the generation of long-lasting, self-sustaining flows.
Journal: Langmuir
ISSN: 0743-7463
Issue: 22
Volume: 39
Pages: 7804 - 7810
Publication year:2023