Dynamics of transformation and fragmentation of composite liquid nano-particles

Moghaddam, Amir (2010) Dynamics of transformation and fragmentation of composite liquid nano-particles. Masters by Research thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Recent research on particle size distributions and particle concentrations near a busy road cannot be explained by the conventional mechanisms for particle evolution of combustion aerosols. Specifically they appear to be inadequate to explain the experimental observations of particle transformation and the evolution of the total number concentration. This resulted in the development of a new mechanism based on their thermal fragmentation, for the evolution of combustion aerosol nano-particles. A complex and comprehensive pattern of evolution of combustion aerosols, involving particle fragmentation, was then proposed and justified. In that model it was suggested that thermal fragmentation occurs in aggregates of primary particles each of which contains a solid graphite/carbon core surrounded by volatile molecules bonded to the core by strong covalent bonds. Due to the presence of strong covalent bonds between the core and the volatile (frill) molecules, such primary composite particles can be regarded as solid, despite the presence of significant (possibly, dominant) volatile component. Fragmentation occurs when weak van der Waals forces between such primary particles are overcome by their thermal (Brownian) motion. In this work, the accepted concept of thermal fragmentation is advanced to determine whether fragmentation is likely in liquid composite nano-particles. It has been demonstrated that at least at some stages of evolution, combustion aerosols contain a large number of composite liquid particles containing presumably several components such as water, oil, volatile compounds, and minerals. It is possible that such composite liquid particles may also experience thermal fragmentation and thus contribute to, for example, the evolution of the total number concentration as a function of distance from the source. Therefore, the aim of this project is to examine theoretically the possibility of thermal fragmentation of composite liquid nano-particles consisting of immiscible liquid v components. The specific focus is on ternary systems which include two immiscible liquid droplets surrounded by another medium (e.g., air). The analysis shows that three different structures are possible, the complete encapsulation of one liquid by the other, partial encapsulation of the two liquids in a composite particle, and the two droplets separated from each other. The probability of thermal fragmentation of two coagulated liquid droplets is discussed and examined for different volumes of the immiscible fluids in a composite liquid particle and their surface and interfacial tensions through the determination of the Gibbs free energy difference between the coagulated and fragmented states, and comparison of this energy difference with the typical thermal energy kT. The analysis reveals that fragmentation was found to be much more likely for a partially encapsulated particle than a completely encapsulated particle. In particular, it was found that thermal fragmentation was much more likely when the volume ratio of the two liquid droplets that constitute the composite particle are very different. Conversely, when the two liquid droplets are of similar volumes, the probability of thermal fragmentation is small. It is also demonstrated that the Gibbs free energy difference between the coagulated and fragmented states is not the only important factor determining the probability of thermal fragmentation of composite liquid particles. The second essential factor is the actual structure of the composite particle. It is shown that the probability of thermal fragmentation is also strongly dependent on the distance that each of the liquid droplets should travel to reach the fragmented state. In particular, if this distance is larger than the mean free path for the considered droplets in the air, the probability of thermal fragmentation should be negligible. In particular, it follows form here that fragmentation of the composite particle in the state with complete encapsulation is highly unlikely because of the larger distance that the two droplets must travel in order to separate. The analysis of composite liquid particles with the interfacial parameters that are expected in combustion aerosols demonstrates that thermal fragmentation of these vi particles may occur, and this mechanism may play a role in the evolution of combustion aerosols. Conditions for thermal fragmentation to play a significant role (for aerosol particles other than those from motor vehicle exhaust) are determined and examined theoretically. Conditions for spontaneous transformation between the states of composite particles with complete and partial encapsulation are also examined, demonstrating the possibility of such transformation in combustion aerosols. Indeed it was shown that for some typical components found in aerosols that transformation could take place on time scales less than 20 s. The analysis showed that factors that influenced surface and interfacial tension played an important role in this transformation process. It is suggested that such transformation may, for example, result in a delayed evaporation of composite particles with significant water component, leading to observable effects in evolution of combustion aerosols (including possible local humidity maximums near a source, such as a busy road). The obtained results will be important for further development and understanding of aerosol physics and technologies, including combustion aerosols and their evolution near a source.

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ID Code: 31776
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Masters by Research)
Supervisor: Jaatinen, Esa & Goodman, Steven
Keywords: thermodynamics of surfaces, thermodynamics of interfaces, surface and interfacial science, surface tension, interfacial tension, aerosol, aerosol particles, nano-particles, particle size distribution, particle concentration, aerosol evolution, composite liquid nano-particles, thermal fragmentation, busy road, hydrodynamic, Gibbs free energy, ternary system, thermal fluctuation, Brownian motion, mean free path, length of fragmentation
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Past > Schools > Physics
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 14 Apr 2010 05:37
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 19:55

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