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Coalescence of a Water Drop with an Air–Liquid Interface: Electric Current Generation and Critical Micelle Concentration (CMC) Sensing Application

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journal contribution
posted on 01.04.2019, 00:00 authored by Yongxin Song, Bin Xu, Yapeng Yuan, Hao Xu, Dongqing Li
A phenomenon that electric current is generated when a pendant water droplet touches an air–electrolyte solution interface is investigated in this paper. A measurement system developed in this study consists of a hollow electrode for droplet generation, a counter electrode immersed in an electrolyte solution, and an electrometer with high precision. Once a droplet touches the air–electrolyte solution interface, it will be pulled into the electrolyte solution and an electric current is produced during this process. Experiments showed that the magnitude of the electric current depends only on the pendant droplet and has nothing to do with the types of the electrolyte solution (with a much larger volume than that of the droplet) below the drop. The electric current is generated by the electric potential difference between the droplet and air–electrolyte solution interface and the liquid bridge formed during droplet coalescence. As a result, the magnitude of the generated electrical current mainly depends on the size, pH, and the type of the solution forming the droplet. Determining the critical micelle concentration using this system was successfully achieved to show the powerfulness of this system.