Water Transport Through Mesoporous Amorphous-carbon Dust

By Keith Cowing
Status Report
January 9, 2024
Filed under , , , , ,
Water Transport Through Mesoporous Amorphous-carbon Dust
FESEM image of a porous layer of aggregated a-C grains produced for this study. — astro-ph.IM

The diffusion of water molecules through mesoporous dust of amorphous carbon (a-C) is a key process in the evolution of prestellar, protostellar, and protoplanetary dust, as well as in that of comets.

It also plays a role in the formation of planets. Given the absence of data on this process, we experimentally studied the isothermal diffusion of water molecules desorbing from water ice buried at the bottom of a mesoporous layer of aggregated a-C nanoparticles, a material analogous to protostellar and cometary dust.

We used infrared spectroscopy to monitor diffusion in low temperature (160 to 170 K) and pressure (6 × 10−5 to 8 × 10−4 Pa) conditions. Fick’s first law of diffusion allowed us to derive diffusivity values on the order of 10−2 cm2 s−1, which we linked to Knudsen diffusion.

Water vapor molecular fluxes ranged from 5 × 1012 to 3 × 1014 cm−2 s−1 for thicknesses of the ice-free porous layer ranging from 60 to 1900 nm. Assimilating the layers of nanoparticles to assemblies of spheres, we attributed to this cosmic dust analog of porosity 0.80-0.90 a geometry correction factor, similar to the tortuosity factor of tubular pore systems, between 0.94 and 2.85.

Applying the method to ices and refractory particles of other compositions will provides us with other useful data.

Romain Basalgète, Gaël Rouillé, Cornelia Jäger

Subjects: Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM); Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Cite as: arXiv:2401.02821 [astro-ph.IM] (or arXiv:2401.02821v1 [astro-ph.IM] for this version)
Submission history
From: Romain Basalgete
[v1] Fri, 5 Jan 2024 14:10:50 UTC (3,163 KB)
Astrobiology, Astrochemistry,

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻