An Activity-Based Dissolution Model for Solute-Containing Microdroplets.
When a solute is present in an aqueous droplet, the water activity in the droplet and the rate of droplet dissolution are both decreased (as compared to a pure water droplet). One of the main parameters that controls this effect is the dynamically changing solute concentration, and therefore water activity and chemical potential, at the droplet interface. This work addresses the importance of understanding how water activity changes during solution droplet dissolution. A model for dissolution rate is presented that accounts for the kinetic effects of changing water activity at the droplet interface during the dissolution of an aqueous salt solution microdroplet into a second immiscible liquid phase. The important underlying question in this model is whether the dissolving component can be considered in local equilibrium on both sides of the droplet interface and whether this assumption is sufficient to account for the kinetics of dissolution. The dissolution model is based on the Epstein-Plesset equation, which has previously been applied to pure gas (bubble) and liquid (droplet) dissolution into liquid phases, but not to salt solutions. The model is tested by using the micropipet technique to form and observe the dehydration of single NaCl solution microdroplets in octanol or butyl acetate. The model successfully predicts the droplet diameter as a function of time in both organic solvents. The NaCl concentration in water is measured well into the supersaturated area >5.4 M, and the supersaturation limit at which NaCl nucleation happens is reported to be 10.24 ± 0.31 M.
Bitterfield, DL; Utoft, A; Needham, D
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