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J Chem Phys. 2010 Jul 28;133(4):044304. doi: 10.1063/1.3463444.

Sound-driven fluid dynamics in pressurized carbon dioxide.

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  • 1Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry, Eindhoven University of Technology, P.O. Box 513, 5600 MB Eindhoven, The Netherlands.


Using high-speed visualization we demonstrate that ultrasound irradiation of pressurized carbon dioxide (CO(2)) induces phenomena that do not occur in ordinary liquids at ambient conditions. For a near-critical mixture of CO(2) and argon, sonication leads to extremely fast local phase separation, in which the system enters and leaves the two-phase region with the frequency of the imposed sound field. This phase transition can propagate with the speed of sound, but can also be located at fixed positions in the case of a standing sound wave. Sonication of a vapor-liquid interface creates a fine dispersion of liquid and vapor, irrespective whether the ultrasound horn is placed in the liquid or the vapor phase. In the absence of an interface, sonication of the liquid leads to ejection of a macroscopic vapor phase from the ultrasound horn with a velocity of several meters per second in the direction of wave propagation. The findings reported here potentially provide a tunable and noninvasive means for enhancing mass and heat transfer in high-pressure fluids.

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