Can controlling evaporation rates impact fuel efficiency and environmental pollution?

Significance 

Presently, the world is facing numerous challenges ranging from climatic changes, environment, technology, industrial problems among others. Most of these issues depend on the principle of evaporation kinetic. Generally, evaporation occurs on the liquid surface as it changes to gas state. To this end, the knowledge about the thermodynamic behaviors of liquid mixtures is of significant importance. This is owing to the fact that it provides the required understanding of the effects of the molecular interactions of these systems. However, the effects of fullerene nanoparticles on the solvent thermodynamic behavior have not been fully investigated. This has therefore attracted significant attention of many researchers over the recent years.

Recently, Wright State University researchers: Professor Maher Amer, Dr. Wenhu Wang, Ms. Katlin Kollins and Mr. Hasanain Altalebi in collaboration with Professor Udo Schwingenschlogl at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology investigated the effects of C60 fullerene nanoparticles on the evaporation kinetics of particular aromatic solvents. The author used aromatic solvents including benzene, toluene and chlorobenzene that exhibited different molecular polarity levels. Their main aim was to investigate the effects of intermolecular association and the concentration of the C60 fullerene on the evaporation kinetics of the solvent’s. The work is published in the journal, Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics.

Briefly, the authors commenced their experimental work by investigating three aromatic solvents including benzene, toluene and chlorobenzene that represented weak, moderate and strong intermolecular interaction respectively. Furthermore, the weight loss for the solvents’ solution was determined as a function of time using the gravimetric method while the solutions were prepared using the chromatography grade solvents. Eventually, the molecular simulation results, evaporation kinetics and Raman spectroscopy results were interpreted based on the structuring within the solvents that resulted in enhanced and controllable evaporation rates.

The research team observed that the evaporation rate depended on the concentration of fullerene. This was due to the level of association within the used aromatic solvents. Consequently, the structuring within the solvents was controlled by the nature of the fullerene and solvent interaction and also the molecular association level within the aromatic solvents. This further influenced the stability of the resulting open structured solvent. Additionally, saturated fullerenes solutions exhibited higher evaporation rates as compared to the pure solvents. Furthermore, it was noted that a system’s behavior is affected by the shape and size of the solute as well as the interaction level among the molecules of the solvent. Similar results were reported in other studies thus showing the feasibility of the current report.

Owing to feasible and accurate results obtained in the study, it will form the fundamental basis for future work to elucidate more on the effects of C60 fullerenes on the evaporation kinetics. As such, Maher Amer and colleagues are optimistic that it will help solve the global emerging issues that mostly depend on the evaporation kinetics of the solvents and solvents mixtures including distillation processes, oil recovery and industrial drying processes among others.

About the author

Dr. Amer is Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, a senior von Humboldt Fellow, Max Planck Society, Germany, and a former Visiting Fellow of the Fitzwilliam College, University of Cambridge, England. Dr. Amer is a member of a number of national and international committees focused on nanomanufacturing and higher education accreditation.

He received his Ph.D. from Drexel University 1995, and currently serves as US Fulbright Core Scholar at KAUST, KSA. He has over 55 publications, 4 book chapters, and author of 2 books on Raman spectroscopy, Fullerenes, and assembly of Nano-films for optical, electrical, and environmental application.

Reference

Amer, M., Wang, W., Kollins, K., Altalebi, H., & Schwingenschlogl, U. (2018). On the evaporation kinetics of [60] fullerene in aromatic organic solvents. Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 20(16), 11296-11305.

Go To Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics

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