Jump to main content
Jump to site search

Issue 15, 2018
Previous Article Next Article

Evaporation, diffusion and self-assembly at drying interfaces

Author affiliations

Abstract

Water evaporation from complex aqueous solutions leads to the build-up of structure and composition gradients at their interface with air. We recently introduced an experimental setup for quantitatively studying such gradients and discussed how structure formation can lead to a self-regulation mechanism for controlling water evaporation through self-assembly. Here, we provide a detailed theoretical analysis using an advection/diffusion transport equation that takes into account thermodynamically non-ideal conditions and we directly relate the theoretical description to quantitative experimental data. We derive that the concentration profile develops according to a general square root of time scaling law, which fully agrees with experimental observations. The evaporation rate notably decreases with time as t−1/2, which shows that diffusion in the liquid phase is the rate limiting step for this system, in contrast to pure water evaporation. For the particular binary system that was investigated experimentally, which is composed of water and a sugar-based surfactant (α-dodecylmaltoside), the interfacial layer consists in a sequence of liquid crystalline phases of different mesostructures. We extract values for mutual diffusion coefficients of lamellar, hexagonal and micellar cubic phases, which are consistent with previously reported values and simple models. We thus provide a method to estimate the transport properties of oriented mesophases. The macroscopic humidity-independence of the evaporation rate up to 85% relative humidities is shown to result from both an extremely low mutual diffusion coefficient and the large range of water activities corresponding to relative humidities below 85%, at which the lamellar phase exists. Such a humidity self-regulation mechanism is expected for a large variety of complex system.

Graphical abstract: Evaporation, diffusion and self-assembly at drying interfaces

Back to tab navigation

Supplementary files

Publication details

The article was received on 15 Jan 2018, accepted on 15 Mar 2018 and first published on 21 Mar 2018


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C8CP00305J
Citation: Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2018,20, 10430-10438
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY license
  •   Request permissions

    Evaporation, diffusion and self-assembly at drying interfaces

    K. Roger, E. Sparr and H. Wennerström, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2018, 20, 10430
    DOI: 10.1039/C8CP00305J

    This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Licence. Material from this article can be used in other publications provided that the correct acknowledgement is given with the reproduced material.

    Reproduced material should be attributed as follows:

    • For reproduction of material from NJC:
      [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) on behalf of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and the RSC.
    • For reproduction of material from PCCP:
      [Original citation] - Published by the PCCP Owner Societies.
    • For reproduction of material from PPS:
      [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) on behalf of the European Society for Photobiology, the European Photochemistry Association, and RSC.
    • For reproduction of material from all other RSC journals:
      [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry.

    Information about reproducing material from RSC articles with different licences is available on our Permission Requests page.

Search articles by author

Spotlight

Advertisements