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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 16 (2011) pp 214-216

Evaporation Rates of Alkanes and Alcohols on a Glass Surface As Observed by Optical Interference

Katherine Shaum, Elijah Tylski, Joshua Alamillo, Bryan Brautigam, Keith Cochran, Philip Mudder, and Allan M. Nishimura*

Department of Chemistry, Westmont College, Santa Barbara, CA 93108,
Received May 2, 2011. Accepted July 16, 2011.

Published: 16 September 2011

Abstract. Evaporation of volatile liquids is a fascinating process that easily draws student interest because of its apparent simplicity. Why certain liquids evaporate faster than others can be explained by concepts that are introduced in general chemistry and physical chemistry, such as molecular geometries, dispersion forces and hydrogen bonding. The measurements of evaporation rates of liquids from ordinary glass surface were accomplished by a simple method based on optical interference.

Key Words: Laboratories and Demonstrations; physical chemistry; van der Waals forces; hydrogen bonding; dispersion forces; optical interference; evaporation

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail:

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