Microdroplet dissolution into a second-phase solvent using a micropipet technique: test of the Epstein-Plesset model for an aniline-water system.
The Epstein-Plesset model was originally derived for the dissolution of a single gas bubble in an infinite aqueous solution (Epstein, P. S.; Plesset, M. S. J. Chem. Phys. 1950, 18, 1505-1509). The micropipet manipulation technique was previously shown to test this theory on air microbubbles and air-filled lipid-coated microparticles accurately and appropriately (Duncan, P. B.; Needham, D. Langmuir 2004, 20, 2567-2578). This same theory is now tested to model liquid microdroplet dissolution in a well-defined solution environment. As presented previously for the gas-bubble system, holding a single microparticle at the end of a micropipet was not shown to affect the dissolution profile and allowed isotropic diffusion significantly, a necessary condition for the validation of the theory. Here, an aniline-water system with an initial droplet diameter of 50 microm was used as a model liquid-liquid system. A microdroplet of aniline in an aqueous solution presatureated with aniline at distinct levels was tested, as was the reverse system of a water droplet in an aniline solution. The dissolution lifetime was shown to increase with increasing medium saturation fraction according to the Epstein-Plesset time-dependent theory (including the time required to establish the stationary layer) neglecting interfacial tension. The droplet lifetime can be increased by an order of magnitude (from about 10 to 100 s) by increasing the saturation fraction from 0 to 0.9 and by another order of magnitude by increasing from 0.9 to 0.99. The technique proved to be an accurate and appropriate method to test the dissolution of single liquid microdroplets in a second liquid solution and establishes a systematic experimental and theoretical approach to the investigation of the formation of polymer and other microparticles.
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