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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Diffusion of Charged Species in Liquids.

  • Author(s): Del Río, JA
  • Whitaker, S
  • et al.

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In this study the laws of mechanics for multi-component systems are used to develop a theory for the diffusion of ions in the presence of an electrostatic field. The analysis begins with the governing equation for the species velocity and it leads to the governing equation for the species diffusion velocity. Simplification of this latter result provides a momentum equation containing three dominant forces: (a) the gradient of the partial pressure, (b) the electrostatic force, and (c) the diffusive drag force that is a central feature of the Maxwell-Stefan equations. For ideal gas mixtures we derive the classic Nernst-Planck equation. For liquid-phase diffusion we encounter a situation in which the Nernst-Planck contribution to diffusion differs by several orders of magnitude from that obtained for ideal gases.

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