Playing with Drops and Films
Analytical chemistry in small places
Purnendu K. (Sandy) Dasgupta
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
The University of Texas at Arlington
Arlington, TX 76019-0065
Murphy may not have encoded it quite as such but things generally turn out differently from what one envisions. When I first came to Texas Tech and the West Texas hamlet of Lubbock, I did not know that rainfall constitutes an event. By this time I had also been educated enough to know that raindrops are not so pristine, they accumulate material both in their life as cloud droplets and as they fall through the atmosphere. Indeed sequential analysis of rain can isolate the two contributions. The idea of hanging drops out for sampling gases was thus born and led to many interesting avenues- what can you do with drops? Hanging drops? Pendant drops? Sessile drops? Scissile drops? Falling drops?
The second ongoing adventure I will like to talk about the many unique characteristics of flows in small spaces. The interesting thing is that only one of the relevant dimensions needs to be small. Liquids flowing on a confined two-dimensional plane can be harnessed to demonstrate interfacial reactions, measure concentrations or physical properties such as viscosity. To the colorful at heart it may be the chemistry in Art Noveau form, otherwise just another lava lamp.........