Marangoni convection at electrogenerated hydrogen bubbles†
Electrolytic gas evolution is a fundamental phenomenon occurring in a large number of industrial applications. In these processes gas bubbles are formed at the electrode from a supersaturated solution. Since dissolved gases can change the surface tension, a gas concentration gradient may cause the surface tension to vary locally at the interface of the gas bubble. Surface tension gradients may also form due to temperature gradients generated by ohmic heating of the electrolyte. In both cases, the resulting shear stress imposes a convection in the electrolyte and the gas bubble (Marangoni effect). This phenomenon may influence the entire electrolytic gas evolution process, e.g., by an enhanced mass transfer. In this study, the first evidence of the Marangoni convection near growing hydrogen bubbles, generated by water electrolysis, is provided. Microscopic high speed imaging was applied to study the evolution of single hydrogen bubbles at a microelectrode. The convection near the interface of the growing bubble was measured by using a time-resolved Particle Tracking Velocimetry (PTV) technique. The results indicate a clear correlation between the magnitude of the Marangoni convection and the electric current.