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Composite System Thermodynamics of Multiphase Droplet Systems Relevant to Emerging Technologies Open Access


Other title
surface thermodynamics
microdrop concentrating
soft surface
energy barrier
Ostwald-Freundlich equation
Stability Analysis
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Supervisor and department
Elliott, Janet (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Examining committee member and department
Zeng, Hongbo(Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Elliott, Janet (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
McGaughey, Alan (Mechanical Engineering)
Shaw, John(Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Nazemifard, Neda(Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Young, Tony(Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering
Chemical Engineering
Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Droplets exist widely in our everyday life and various industries. Numerous studies have been done to explore droplet systems and among them Gibbsian surface thermodynamics is a powerful means to investigate these highly curved systems. Due to the development of modern technologies and the introduction of novel materials, new systems have arisen that require this type of investigation. Here we have chosen two multiphase droplet systems of recent interest: the first one is droplet nucleation on a soft substrate as a modern material and the second one is the microdrop concentrating process which is mainly used in microfluidic technologies. Gibbsian surface thermodynamics is a rigorous method to predict the behaviour of highly curved surfaces such as droplets, bubbles, capillaries or colloid systems. This approach includes finding the conditions for equilibrium and explores the nature of each equilibrium state, i.e., whether it is stable, unstable or metastable. The stability analysis is done by means of free energy calculation and the amount of an energy barrier determines the required energy for nucleation. In the first system of interest, we provide a mathematical explanation for easier droplet nucleation on a soft substrate compared with a rigid surface, an effect which has been observed experimentally by other researchers. In the second system of interest, we study the microdrop concentrating process which has application in microfluidic microdrop platforms. We provide the first thermodynamic description for microdrop concentrating of two types of solutes—those with and without solubility limits—and explore the role of different design parameters on the equilibrium states. Next we perform thermodynamic stability analysis of the process to determine the behaviour of the system at each equilibrium state. Finally, the role of the Ostwald–Freundlich equation describing the effect of curvature of the precipitated solutes within the microdrops is fully explored.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
Citation for previous publication
Eslami, F.; Elliott, J. A. W. Thermodynamic Investigation of the Barrier for Heterogeneous Nucleation on a Fluid Surface in Comparison with a Rigid Surface. J Phys Chem B 2011, 115, 10646-10653.Eslami, F.; Elliott, J. A. W. Design of Microdrop Concentrating Processes. J. Phys. Chem. B. 2013, 117, 2205-2214.Eslami, F.; Elliott, J. A. W. Stability Analysis of Microdrops during Concentrating Processes. J. Phys. Chemi. B. 2014, 118, 3630-41.

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