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Controlling water evaporation through self-assembly

Roger, Kevin and Liebi, Marianne and Heimdal, Jimmy and Pham, Quoc Dat and Sparr, Emma Controlling water evaporation through self-assembly. (2016) Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113 (37). 10275-10280. ISSN 0027-8424

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1604134113

Abstract

Water evaporation concerns all land-living organisms, as ambient air is dryer than their corresponding equilibrium humidity. Contrarily to plants, mammals are covered with a skin that not only hinders evaporation but also maintains its rate at a nearly constant value, independently of air humidity. Here, we show that simple amphiphiles/water systems reproduce this behavior, which suggests a common underlying mechanism originating from responding self-assembly structures. The composition and structure gradients arising from the evaporation process were characterized using optical microscopy, infrared microscopy, and small-angle X-ray scattering. We observed a thin and dry outer phase that responds to changes in air humidity by increasing its thickness as the air becomes dryer, which decreases its permeability to water, thus counterbalancing the increase in the evaporation driving force. This thin and dry outer phase therefore shields the systems from humidity variations. Such a feedback loop achieves a homeostatic regulation of water evaporation.

Item Type:Article
HAL Id:hal-02134863
Audience (journal):International peer-reviewed journal
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Institution:French research institutions > Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - CNRS (FRANCE)
Université de Toulouse > Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse - INPT (FRANCE)
Other partners > Institut Paul Scherrer - PSI (SWITZERLAND)
Université de Toulouse > Université Toulouse III - Paul Sabatier - UPS (FRANCE)
Other partners > Lund University (SWEDEN)
Laboratory name:
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Deposited By: Loetitia MOYA
Deposited On:23 Oct 2018 15:49

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