Regular Article – Flowing Matter
Effects of electrical image potentials and solvation energy on salt ions near a metallic or dielectric wall
Physics Department, Florida Atlantic University, 33431, Boca Raton, FL, USA
2 Physics Department and Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Complex Systems, Northeastern University, 02115, Boston, MA, USA
Accepted: 16 September 2021
Published online: 6 October 2021
Electrical image potentials near a metallic or a dielectric wall of higher dielectric constant than that of the solution are attractive, and therefore, could concentrate salt ions near the wall. In fact, ions in room temperature ionic liquids have been observed to precipitate near a metallic surface (but not near a nonmetallic surface). It will be argued that a likely reason for why precipitation of ions in salt water due to electrical image forces has not as yet been observed is that the solvation of the ions is reduced near the wall. This results in an energy barrier. This reduction occurs because of the large decrease near the wall of the dielectric constant of water normal to the wall. The conditions under which ions are able to get past the resulting energy barrier and concentrate at a solid wall, either as a result of a reduction in this barrier due to screening at high ion concentration or as a result of thermal activation over the barrier will be explored.
© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to EDP Sciences, SIF and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2021