Diffusiophoresis of Control of Particles in Water Systems

2016 New Investigator Award

Award Period: 2016-2018

All manners of environmental and water-related systems and processes involve colloidal particles and solutions that contain anions and cations. Obviously this statement applies to soil-water systems, membranes for filtration, reverse osmosis processes, water in natural environments, estuaries, rain, etc. Understanding the physical chemistry of these systems is described in textbooks owing to many decades of research and applications. One important transport process, diffusiophoresis, refers to particle transport as a consequence of gradients of small molecules, e.g. salts, and applies to all types of colloidal particles. Although well studied for systems with constant salt gradients, it is often overlooked and poorly appreciated, and, surprisingly, consequences of this significant transport mechanism remain unrecognized and unexplored for common transient situations.

Educational Impacts

Stone and his team plan to include some of the ideas from the mathematical modeling in the (large) undergraduate course that Stone teaches every fall, MAE305 to approximately 130 students. The mathematical model includes some ideas involving partial differential equations and some of these ideas are part of the final weeks in MAE305. Also, Stone is including some of the ideas of describing particle movements in electric fields (relevant to thinking about diffusiophoresis) as one of the topics in the special topics graduate course, MAE559, he is teaching in the fall of 2016.

Participating Department

Collaborating Institutions


Donald R. Dixon ’69 and Elizabeth W. Dixon Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Additional Researchers

Graduate Students

  • Suin Shim, MAE

Undergraduate Students

  • Sarah Battat, Class of 2017