Surface tension of dilute alcohol-aqueous binary fluids: n-Butanol/water, n-Pentanol/water, and n-Hexanol/water solutions


Surface tension of pure fluids, inherently decreasing with regard to temperature, creates a thermo-capillary-driven (Marangoni) flow moving away from a hot surface. It has been known that few high-carbon alcohol-aqueous solutions exhibit an opposite behavior of the surface tension increasing with regard to temperature, such that the Marangoni flow moves towards the hot surface (self-rewetting effect). We report the surface tensions of three dilute aqueous solutions of n-Butanol, n-Pentanol and n-Hexanol as self-rewetting fluids measured for ranges of alcohol concentration (within solubility limits) and fluid temperatures (25–85 °C). A maximum bubble pressure method using a leak-tight setup was used to measure the surface tension without evaporation losses of volatile components. It was found from this study that the aqueous solutions with higher-carbon alcohols exhibit a weak self-rewetting behavior, such that the surface tensions remain constant or slightly increases above about 60 °C. These results greatly differ from the previously reported results showing a strong self-rewetting behavior, which is attributed to the measurement errors associated with the evaporation losses of test fluids during open-system experiments.

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a i :

Experimental coefficients in calculating mixture density

C :

Mass concentration (% wt)

h :

Height (m)

m :

Mass (kg)

P :

Pressure (pa)

R :

Capillary tube radius (m)

s :

Interfacial coordinate (m)

T :

Temperature (K)

U :

Uncertainty (%)

X :

Calculated variable

Y :

Measured variable


Change in variable

ρ :

Density (kg/m3)

σ :

Surface tension (mN/m)

1, 2, 3:

Location indexes

b :


c :


f :


i :

Index number





v :



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Authors thank Roberto Bejarano for his work on the initial experiments. The work was supported by the National Science Foundation (IIA-1301726 and CAREER Award 1464504). The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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Correspondence to Chanwoo Park.

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Cheng, K.K., Park, C. Surface tension of dilute alcohol-aqueous binary fluids: n-Butanol/water, n-Pentanol/water, and n-Hexanol/water solutions. Heat Mass Transfer 53, 2255–2263 (2017).

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  • Surface Tension
  • Heat Pipe
  • Evaporation Loss
  • Bubble Pressure
  • Surface Tension Data