There is a substantial and increasingly important class of processes where a gaseous reaction product is produced on a catalyst surface in a liquid, like in photoelectrolysis where water is converted into hydrogen gas and oxygen under the influence of light. Wherever a gas bubble forms and covers part of the catalyst surface the reaction is inhibited and therefore it is crucial that these gas bubbles are transported away as fast as possible.
In this project we want to study new ways of transporting gas away from the catalyst surface by (i) controlling the bubble size, (ii) enhancing bubble nucleation and growth and (iii) controlling the fluid flow using bubble detachment and buoyancy.
We will conduct experiments in a unique experimental setup that allows for complete and independent control of pressure and supersaturation level during bubble nucleation, formation, and detachment from a micropatterned surface. More specifically, we will study how isolated bubbles grow in confinement, how they detach, and how much fluid they are able to advect. Next we will turn to how multiple growing bubbles influence each other as a function of their distance. And finally we will address how bubbles nucleate and grow on a photoelectrolytic surface.
Project leader: Prof. Devaraj van der Meer