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On the effect of the atmosphere on the evaporation of sessile droplets of water

Sefiane, K. and Wilson, S.K. and David, S. and Dunn, G. and Duffy, B.R. (2009) On the effect of the atmosphere on the evaporation of sessile droplets of water. Physics of Fluids, 21 (6). ISSN 1070-6631

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An experimental and theoretical study into the effect of the atmosphere on the evaporation of pinned sessile droplets of water is described. The experimental work investigated the evaporation rates of sessile droplets in atmospheres of three different ambient gases (namely, helium, nitrogen and carbon dioxide) at reduced pressure (from 40 to 1000 mbar) using four different substrates(namely, aluminium, titanium, Macor and PTFE) with a wide range of thermal conductivities.Reducing the atmospheric pressure increases the diffusion coefficient of water vapour in the atmosphere and hence increases the evaporation rate. Changing the ambient gas also alters the diffusion coefficient and hence also affects the evaporation rate. A mathematical model that takes into account the effect of the atmospheric pressure and the nature of the ambient gas on the diffusion of water vapour in the atmosphere and the thermal conductivity of the substrate is developed, and its predictions are found to be in encouraging agreement with the experimental results.