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Mass Transfer Equations: Fick's Law

Mass transfer is the movement of matter from a high concentration to a low concentration. E.g the air freshener (matter) moves from an area of high concentration (where you sprayed it) to an area of low concentration that is far from the place that it was sprayed. This movement of the material is called diffusion. Diffusion can be represented by a basic equation.

The equation that we are about to study is often referred to as Fick's Law. Our task is to introduce Fick's Law and dissect it into understandable parts. J= -D * D C/Dx Every symbol stands for a different quantity

J The Mass Flux Flux is the movement of objects from one point to another in a given time. The flux is what we are measuring when studying difusion. Units: moles / (time * area) Note: area has units of length*length (or length2) Example: Mol/(h*ft2), mol/(s*m2)

D Diffusivity The diffusivity is the constant that describes how fast or slow an object diffuses. Units: the units of area / time Example: ft2/h, or cm2/s D - Delta - "change in." It refers to subtracting the beginning value from the final value of the symbol following the D . For example: D C = C2 C1 = the last C the first C, where C represents concentration. C Concentration Concentration is the amount of mass in a given volume.

The symbol D C refers to the change in concentration from when the object had not diffused at all, to the final concentration when the object was done diffusing. Units: the units of amount of substance / volume Note: volume is the representation of size in three dimensions. Therefore it has the units of length*length*length (or length3) Example: mol / cm3, mol/L

x Distance This refers to the distance that the object is diffusing. The symbol D x refers to the distance between where the object started and where it ended up after it diffused. Units: the units of length Example: m, cm, ft

Therefore, returning to the equation, J = -D * D C/D x It was described that the flux was equal to the negative diffusivity times the change in concentration divided by the change in distance.

Problem
The sink is 18 cm deep, and the concentration of oil on the plate is 0.1 mol/cm3 You placed your greasy plate into the water, and the dishwater got a thin film of oil on the top of it, Find the flux, J, of oil droplets through the water to the top surface.. Assume that there is no oil at the top of the sink yet.

Answer
To solve this problem, we will need to apply the mass transfer equation we just learned. J = -D * D C/D x Given where: D = 7 x 10-7cm2/s D x = the depth of the sink = 18 cm

The concentration at the top of the sink = 0 The concentration of oil on the plate = 0.1 mol/cm3 D C = concentration at the top of the sink the concentration of oil on the plate. D C = 0 0.1 = -0.1 mol/cm3

Since we know all of the numbers needed, We can calculate the flux. J = -D * D C/D x J = -(7 x 10-7 cm2/s) * (-0.1 mol/cm3) / (18 cm) J = 4 x 10-4 mol / (cm2s)

Ficks Second Law


A more common instance of diffusion when the concentrations of the diffusing species changes with time. Under these non steady state conditions the gradient dc/dx Therefore the flux Jx of ficks first law of diffusion changes as time passes This can be represented as second law

Ficks Second Law


This means that the last equation we used is no longer valid. ( J= -D * D C/Dx) In these situations an equation known as Fick's Second Law is used: