Experimental Study Of Ethylene Evaporites Under Titan Conditions

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
February 12, 2020
Filed under
Experimental Study Of Ethylene Evaporites Under Titan Conditions

Titan has an abundance of lakes and seas, as confirmed by Cassini. Major components of these liquid bodies include methane (CH4) and ethane (C2H6); however, evidence indicates that minor components such as ethylene (C2H4) may also exist in the lakes.

As the lake levels drop, 5 μm-bright deposits, resembling evaporite deposits on earth, are left behind. Here, we provide saturation values, evaporation rates, and constraints on ethylene evaporite formation by using a Titan simulation chamber capable of reproducing Titan surface conditions (89-94 K, 1.5 bar N2). Experimental samples were analyzed using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, mass, and temperature readings. Ethylene evaporites form more quickly in a methane solvent than in an ethane solvent or in a mixture of methane/ethane. We measured an average evaporation rate of (2.8±0.3)×10−4kgm−2s−1 for methane and an average upper limit evaporation rate of less than 5.5×10−6kgm−2s−1 for ethane. Additionally, we observed red shifts in ethylene absorption bands at 1.630 and 2.121 μm and the persistence of a methane band at 1.666 μm.

E. C. Czaplinski, Woodrow A. Gilbertson, Kendra K. Farnsworth, Vincent F. Chevrier
(Submitted on 11 Feb 2020)

Comments: 33 pages, 12 figures, 2 tables, published in ACS Earth and Space Chemistry
Subjects: Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM); Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Journal reference: ACS Earth and Space Chemistry 3 (2019) 2353-2362
DOI: 10.1021/acsearthspacechem.9b00204
Cite as: arXiv:2002.04978 [astro-ph.IM] (or arXiv:2002.04978v1 [astro-ph.IM] for this version)
Submission history
From: Ellen Czaplinski
[v1] Tue, 11 Feb 2020 03:26:35 UTC (3,664 KB)
Astrobiology, Astrochemistry

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