The Soret Effect

In a concentrated system, mass transfer can drive heat transfer due to an increase in the particle distribution. However, is the opposite true, i.e. can a temperature gradient force the movement of selective particles? It turns out, yes! But only at very tiny length scales- basically on the order of 10-50 nm. It’s called the Soret Effect, or thermophoresis. More importantly, is this ever useful, considering that the application is only in the nanoscale? The answer here is also yes- seen in this link, particles can be precipitated based on size (larger particles travel slower than smaller particles). Industrially, a good example is to clear the fouling of coal heat exchangers.. check it out!

Application of Thermophoresis


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