Classical thermodynamics theory predicts that nanosized bubbles should disappear in a few hundred microseconds. The surprisingly long lifetime and stability of nanobubbles are therefore interesting research subjects. It has been proposed that the stability of nanobubbles arises through pinning of the three-phase contact line, which results from intrinsic nanoscale geometrical and chemical heterogeneities of the substrate. However, a definitive explanation of nanobubble stability is still lacking. In this work, we examined the stability mechanism by introducing a "pinning force." We investigated nanobubbles at a highly ordered pyrolytic graphite/pure water interface by peak force quantitative nano-mechanical mapping and estimated the pinning force and determined its maximum value. We then observed the shape of shrinking nanobubbles. Because the diameter of the shrinking nanobubbles was pinned, the height decreased and the contact angle increased. This phenomenon implies that the stability results from the pinning force, which flattens the bubble through the pinned three-phase contact line and prevents the Laplace pressure from increasing. The pinning force can also explain the metastability of coalesced nanobubbles, which have two semispherical parts that are joined to form a dumbbell-like shape. The pinning force of the semispherical parts was stronger than that of the joint region. This result demonstrates that the contact line of the semispherical parts is pinned strongly to keep the dumbbell-like shape. Furthermore, we proposed a nanobubble generation mechanism for the solvent-exchange method and explained why the pinning force of large nanobubbles was not initially at its maximum value, as it was for small nanobubbles.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- General Physics and Astronomy
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry