On nonequilibrium shrinkage of supercritical CO2 droplets in a water-carrier microflow

Ning Qin, John Z. Wen, Baixin Chen, Carolyn L. Ren*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
36 Downloads (Pure)


We report an experimental study on the hydrodynamic shrinkage of supercritical carbon dioxide (scCO2) microdroplets during a nonequilibrium process. After scCO2 microdroplets are generated by water shearing upon a scCO2 flow in a micro T-junction, they are further visualized and characterized at the midpoint and the ending point of a straight rectangular microchannel (width × depth × length: 150 μm × 100 μm × 1.5 mm). The measured decreases in droplet size by 8%-36% indicate and simply quantify the droplet shrinkage which results from the interphase mass transfer between the droplet and the neighboring water. Using a mathematical model, the shrinkage of scCO2 droplets is characterized by solvent-side mass transfer coefficients (ks: 1.5 × 10−4-7.5 × 10−4 m/s) and the Sherwood number (Sh: 7-37). In general, ks here is two orders of magnitude larger than that of hydrostatic liquid CO2 droplets in water. The magnitude of Sh numbers highlights the stronger effect of local convections than that of diffusion in the interphase mass transfer. Our results, as reported here, have essential implications for scCO2-based chemical extractions and carbon storage in deep geoformations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number033703
JournalApplied Physics Letters
Issue number3
Early online date16 Jul 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Jul 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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