PerspectiveInterfacial Chemistry

Disrupting dissolving ions at surfaces with fluid flow

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Science  06 Jun 2014:
Vol. 344, Issue 6188, pp. 1094-1095
DOI: 10.1126/science.1254906

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Aqueous dissolution processes are not well understood on the molecular scale (1), and this has led to controversy, notably in geochemical systems (2, 3). Charging of a solid surface, either by substitution of ions with a different valence (e.g., Ca2+ for Na+) or by chemical binding of charged species from solution, orients the dipole moments of nearby water molecules. On the solution side of these dipoles, oppositely charged ions collect (4) and an electrical double layer (EDL) of different charges forms. Two prevailing assumptions about the EDL have been that water molecules and ions near the surface are not substantially perturbed by solution flow and that surfaces with low solubility have negligible effects on chemistry within the EDL. These notions are upset by the results reported on page 1138 of this issue by Lis et al. (5), who show both EDL sensitivity to flow-induced interface shear and substantial changes in surface charges as a result of dissolution processes on low-solubility surfaces.