Theoretical studies of microfluidics: "walking" drops and "melting" snowflakes.

Gallo, Tommaso (2011) Theoretical studies of microfluidics: "walking" drops and "melting" snowflakes., [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Scienze chimiche, 23 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/3875.
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The present PhD thesis summarizes two examples of research in microfluidics. Both times water was the subject of interest, once in the liquid state (droplets adsorbed on chemically functionalized surfaces), the other time in the solid state (ice snowflakes and their fractal behaviour). The first problem deals with a slipping nano-droplet of water adsorbed on a surface with photo-switchable wettability characteristics. Main focus was on identifying the underlying driving forces and mechanical principles at the molecular level of detail. Molecular Dynamics simulation was employed as investigative tool owing to its record of successfully describing the microscopic behaviour of liquids at interfaces. To reproduce the specialized surface on which a water droplet can effectively “walk”, a new implicit surface potential was developed. Applying this new method the experimentally observed droplet slippage could be reproduced successfully. Next the movement of the droplet was analyzed at various conditions emphasizing on the behaviour of the water molecules in contact with the surface. The main objective was to identify driving forces and molecular mechanisms underlying the slippage process. The second part of this thesis is concerned with theoretical studies of snowflake melting. In the present work snowflakes are represented by filled von Koch-like fractals of mesoscopic beads. A new algorithm has been developed from scratch to simulate the thermal collapse of fractal structures based on Monte Carlo and Random Walk Simulations (MCRWS). The developed method was applied and compared to Molecular Dynamics simulations regarding the melting of ice snowflake crystals and new parameters were derived from this comparison. Bigger snow-fractals were then studied looking at the time evolution at different temperatures again making use of the developed MCRWS method. This was accompanied by an in-depth analysis of fractal properties (border length and gyration radius) in order to shed light on the dynamics of the melting process.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Gallo, Tommaso
Dottorato di ricerca
Scuola di dottorato
Scienze chimiche
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
molecular dynamic water microfluidics drop surface ice snow random walk Monte Carlo fractal
Data di discussione
19 Aprile 2011

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