3 years ago

Capillary Condensation in 8 nm Deep Channels

Capillary Condensation in 8 nm Deep Channels
Junjie Zhong, Farshid Mostowfi, Aaron H. Persad, David Sinton, Seyed Hadi Zandavi, Yi Xu, Jason Riordon
Condensation on the nanoscale is essential to understand many natural and synthetic systems relevant to water, air, and energy. Despite its importance, the underlying physics of condensation initiation and propagation remain largely unknown at sub-10 nm, mainly due to the challenges of controlling and probing such small systems. Here we study the condensation of n-propane down to 8 nm confinement in a nanofluidic system, distinct from previous studies at ∼100 nm. The condensation initiates significantly earlier in the 8 nm channels, and it initiates from the entrance, in contrast to channels just 10 times larger. The condensate propagation is observed to be governed by two liquid–vapor interfaces with an interplay between film and bridging effects. We model the experimental results using classical theories and find good agreement, demonstrating that this 8 nm nonpolar fluid system can be treated as a continuum from a thermodynamic perspective, despite having only 10–20 molecular layers.

Publisher URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jpclett.7b03003

DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpclett.7b03003

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