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Gas diffusion occurred when diffusion of vapor takes place from volatile liquid(organic
solvent) into another gas (air). This process used same concept as mass transfer where one
constituent is transported from region of higher concentration to that of a lower concentration. In
this experiment, acetone is used as the organic solvent. Unit operation that used during
experiment is theGas Diffusion Coefficient Apparatus (Model: BP 10).The objective of
experiment is to find out the gas diffusion coefficient, D of acetone in the air by using
Winklemans method.This experiment is conducted at a temperature of 50C and atmospheric
pressure. The level of acetone, L is determined every 30 minutes by using a microscope with
mounted sliding vernier scale alongside the thermostatic tank. A horizontal glass tube is fixed to
the upper end of capillary tube and air is drawn through this by small air pump included within
the unit. This arrangement allows maintenance of partial pressure difference within capillary
tube between evaporating liquid surface and flowing air stream.With the level of acetone being
determined, a graph oft/L+Lo (min /mm) against L-Lo (mm) is plotted and the gradient, s of the
graph can be determined. With the gradient of the graph s, the diffusion coefficient, D of the
experiment can be calculated by applying some mathematical derivation. Antoine equation is
used to determine the partial pressure of acetone. From the resultvalue of diffusion coefficient, D
calculated to be 3.937 x 102 m2/s. Several errors are made in this experiment which causes the
value of diffusion coefficient todeviate which will be discussed later in discussion section.

Abstract . 1
Table of Contents... 2
1.0 Introduction 3
2.0 Objectives.. 3

3.0 Theory4-5

4.0 Diagram and Description of Apparatus.6-7

5.0 Experimental Procedures7-8
6.0 Result and Discussion8-11
7.0 Sample Calculation..12-13
8.0 Conclusions and Recommendations 14
9.0 References 14

Appendices ......14

Original Data Sheets.15

Table of Antoine Equation Constant..16
Table of Selected Physical Property Data..17

In process engineering , the knowledge of physical and chemical properties of a certain material
is important because the process deal with the transformation and distribution of these materials
in bulk. One such property is diffusivity. Mass transfer coefficient can be estimated from the
theoretical equation , correlations , and analogies that are function of that materials properties.
The diffusivity of the vapour of a volatile liquid can be determined using Winkelmanns
method in which the liquid is contained in a vertical glass tube over the top of which stream of
vapour free gas is passed is allowed to evaporate. A water bath is provided for maintaining a
steady temperature to make sure there are no eddy current in the narrow diameter vertical tube
and an air stream is passed over the top of the tube to ensure that the partial pressure of the
vapour transferred from the surface of the liquid to the air stream by the molecular diffusion. The
transfer of the molecule through the fluid by a random molecular is called molecular diffusion.
The travelling telescope is provided for the determining. The mass transfer by diffusion take
place when there is concentration gradient of the diffusing component. With the knowledge of
that, the diffusivity of the vapour of the volatile liquid can be calculated.

The experiment is conducted to determine the gas diffusion coefficient of acetone using
established Winkelmanns method. Then , to investigate the relationship between time interval
and the level of the acetone. Besides that , determine the mass transfer equation using a Ficks
Law with a bulk flow. Lastly , to calculate the diffusion coefficient.

The diffusivity of the vapour of the acetone in this experiment can be determined by the
Winkelmanns method. Mass transfer take place in either a gas phase or a liquid phase or in both
simultaneously. The diffusion of vapour A from the volatile liquid into another gas B can be
conveniently studied by confining a small sample of the liquid in a narrow vertical tube.
Normally , B is air and A is an organic solvent such as acetone.
The apparatus consist of a glass capillary tube place in a transparent sided temperature
controlled water bath. A horizontal glass tube is fixed to the upper end of the capillary tube and
air is blown through the small pump included within the unit. A travelling microscope with
sliding vernier scale , is mounted on a rigid stand alongside the thermostatic bath and is used to
measure t inthe rate of fall of the air meniscus within capillary.
The relationship between the measured molar mass rate ( NA per unit area) , the partial pressure
gradient and diffusion coefficiect D is deduced from the one dimensional steady state version of
Ficks Law with bulk flow(3) :

NA = D


: CA and CB are the molar concentration of the vapour A and air B respectively.
Where :
D = diffusivity [

CA = saturation concentration of mass transfer at the interface [

L = effective distance of mass transfer [m]

CT = total molar concentration

CBM = logarithmic mean value of CB [

Evaporation of the liquid :

NA =


Where , pL = density of liquid [

M = molecular weight [

Combination of equation A and B :



The L0 is at t = 0, the slope of plotting the graph of



The diffusivity :

against ( L L0 ):


The SOLTEQ Gaseous Diffusion Coefficient Apparatus consists of water bath tank, capillary
tube, air pump and travelling telescope. In water bath tank, there are some additional parts that
help this experiment works such as heater W1, temperature sensor, temperature controller and
level switch. The purpose of heater W1 is to heat up the water in the water bath to the
temperature desired. Temperature sensor is to measure the temperature by correlating the
resistance of the element with the temperature. Temperature controller is about controlling the
temperature following the experimental temperature and water bath itself can maintain a steady
temperature so that there is no eddy current in the vertical tube and mass transfer takes place
from the surface by molecular diffusion alone. Next, the T-shape vertical capillary tube is used
with the air pump which has been attached to the one end of the T-Tube. The purpose is to allow
the maintenance of a partial pressure difference within the capillary tube between the
evaporating liquid surface and the flowing air stream. The travelling telescope equipped with a
vernier scale is used to measure the level of the acetone meniscus within the capillary

1. The water bath was filled with filtered water to approximately 20mm from the top.
2. The main power on the control panel was switched on.
3. The set-point value on the temperature controller was adjusted to 50oC.
4. The heater was switched on. The water temperature was observed till it heats up to 50oC
and remains constant.
5. The capillary tube was cleaned up and partially filled with acetone to a depth about
6. The capillary tube was carefully inserted through the fitting on top of the water bath

7. The initial level of acetone was observed through the telescope.

8. The flexible tubing from the air pump line was connected to one end of the capillary tube.
Then, the pump was switched on.
9. After 30 minutes, the air pump was switched off. The other end of the capillary tube was
covered with a finger. The level of acetone was observed and recorded.
10. Step 9 was repeated at 30 minutes intervals.


Table 1: Raw Data Table for Gaseous Diffusion Experiment
Time, t (min)

Level of Acetone, L (cm)


Table 2: Calculated Data Table for Gaseous Diffusion Experiment


Level of Acetone,L

L-LO, dL


Graph t/dL versus dL


y = 0.227x + 0.5199
R = 0.5019


t/dL (ks/mm)


Linear (t/dL (ks/mm))


FIGURE 2: Graph t/dL versus dL

The slope of the graph is 0.227. The gas diffusivity of the gas is 3.937x102 m2/s. The partial
pressure that obtained from the Antoine equation is PA1 is 9.352 kPa and PA2 is 81.902 kPa.
The objective of the gaseous diffusion experiment is to determine the gas diffusion
coefficient of acetone using the Winkelmanns method. In this experiment, the volatile liquid is
heated until it evaporated into free air stream. The rate of diffusion can be observed by the rate of
decreasing of acetone level in the tube by using a telescope.
Based on the result, the level of acetone was decreased when the time was increased
caused by diffusion. Diffusion is process where involving the movement of component or
molecules from one location to another location due to exist of concentration gradient. Normally,
the movement of molecule is from high concentration part to more less concentration gradient.

In the experiment, the diffusion concept can be observed by the decreasing of acetone
level in the capillary tube. The boiling process of water was generated heat and the heat was
transferred to the acetone. This process was increased the movement of molecules in the acetone
until it createsbody that has high concentration compare to surrounding. Furthermore, due to
some driving forces and existing of concentration gradient, the molecule was move from inside
the capillary tube to the surrounding air that has less concentration.
Based on the graph that has been plotted, the x-axis of the graph is the differences
between final level of acetone and the initial level of acetone. Meanwhile, the y-axis of the graph
is the time taken divide by the difference between the levels of acetone. In addition, the trend of
the graph is increased proportionally. The increasing the difference between the levels of
acetone, the increasing the time divide by the difference between the levels of acetone. The
equation that obtained from the graph is y=0.227x + 0.5199, where the slope of the graph is
0.227 in positive value. From the calculation and the data from the table, the value of diffusivity
was determined which is 3.937 x 102m2/s.
Based from the graph also, it showed the Correlation coefficient R2 value is 0.5019. The
significance of this value is to show or to measure the strength of the straight line or linear
relationship between two variables. This values usually ranging between -1 until +1.The +1
means the perfect positive relationship where one variable increase another variable also
increases. Meanwhile, -1 means the perfect negative relationship where one variable increase the
another variable is decreasing. In the experiment, the obtained value is 0.5019, means that the
relationship of the graph is moderate positive linear relationship.


The Antoine equation was used in the calculation in order to determine the partial
pressure and the concentration. The relationship between the partial pressure and the
concentration is directly proportional:

Where the C is the concentration, P is partial pressure, R is gas constant and T is the temperature.
When the partial pressure of the substance is increase, the concentration of the substance is also
Moreover, the temperature controller was set up at 50.0 C through along the experiment
and it not been set beyond 70.0 C. It is because the boiling point of the acetone is at 56.0 C
where the process where the phase of acetone change from liquid to vapor.

When the

temperature exceeds 70.0 C, the rate of evaporation is faster compare to temperature at the
boiling point. This situation can cause the problem to the experimenter to collect the data or
difference of acetone level. Finally, the discrepancy from the experimental data is the value of
the time divide by difference between levels of acetone between intervals is not increased
constantly due to some errors such as parallax error and the initial value of the acetone in the
capillary tube was not read accurately.



Value of slope = 0.227
Molecular Weight of Acetone = 58.08 kg / mol
Temperature, Absolute at 0 C = 273 K
Water at 50 C = 323 K
CT =CA1 + CB1
CT = CA2 + CB2

CA2 =

= =C
For of acetone at 50 oC ,Antoine Equation ;
A = 7.11714

B = 1210.595

C = 229.664

Log10 PA2= A Log10 PA2 = 7.11714 PA2 = 614.316 mmHg

PA2 = 81.902 kPa
At absolute temperature;
Log10 PA2 = 7.11714 PA1 = 70.143 mmHg
PA2 = 9.352 kPa
CA2 =

= 0.0305



= 0.0377
CB2 = CT
= 0.0377


= 0.0072
CA1 = 0.00412

CB1 = 0.03357

CA= CA1 + CA2

= 3.937 x 102
= 3.937 x 102

= 2.0 x 103



Overall, the experiment produces results agreeing to theory. Based on the result, the level of
acetone decreased as the time increased caused by diffusion. By using Winkelmanns method the
gas diffusion coefficient of acetone was determined. As the acetone evaporates into surrounding
air the vapor concentration slowly decreased from high to low concentration. The molecules
moves from capillary tube to surrounding air due to driving forces.
There are some recommendations for future used firstly, every experimenter must make sure to
avoid parallax error while taken the readings of level of acetone from the vernier scale because it
will deviate the data and results calculated at the end of experiment. Secondly, the amount of
acetone used should be pipette and closed from surrounding before it is drop into the capillary
tube so that it will not alter the accuracy of the results. Lastly, at the time interval where the
readings of acetone is being recorded, experimenter must use the cap provided instead of fingers
to close the end of capillary tube and the flexible tubing.
(1) Chemical Engineering Laboratory Manual, Semester June-October 2013.
(2) Determination









from coefficient. gas

(3) Mass Transfer and Diffusion Coefficients. (n.d.). Retrieved June 8, 2013, from