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Concept: Vapor pressure


Ionic liquids (ILs) are a novel class of solvents with interesting physicochemical properties. Many different applications have been reported for ILs as alternatives to organic solvents in chemical and bioprocesses. Despite the argued advantage of having low vapor pressure, even the most hydrophobic ILs show some degree of solubility in water, allowing their dispersion into aquatic systems and raising concerns on its pollutant potential. Moreover, nowadays most widespread notion concerning the ILs toxicity is that there is a direct relationship with their hydrophobicity/lipophilicity. This work aims at enlarging the currently limited knowledge on ILs toxicity by addressing negative impacts in aquatic ecosystems and investigating the possibility of designing hydrophobic ILs of low ecotoxicity, by the manipulation of their chemical structures. The impact of aromaticity on the toxicity of different cations (pyridinium, piperidinium, pyrrolidinium and imidazolium) and hydrophobic anions (bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl)imide [NTf(2)] and hexafluorophosphate [PF(6)]) was analysed. Concomitantly, several imidazolium-based ILs of the type [C( n )C( m )C( j )im][NTf(2)] were also studied to evaluate the effects of the position of the alkyl chain on the ILs' toxicity. For that purpose, standard assays were performed using organisms of different trophic levels, Vibrio fischeri, Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata and Daphnia magna, allowing to evaluate the consistency of the structure-activity relationships across different biological targets. The results here reported suggest the possibility of designing ILs with an enhanced hydrophobic character and lower toxicity, by elimination of their aromatic nature.

Concepts: Water, Solubility, Ecosystem, Solvent, Physical chemistry, Ionic liquid, Vapor pressure, Deep eutectic solvent


The insecticide methomyl, an oxime carbamate, was first introduced in 1968 for broad spectrum control of several insect classes, including Lepidoptera, Hemiptera, Homoptera, Diptera, and Coleoptera. Like other carbamates, it inhibits AChE activity, resulting in nerve and/or tissue failure and possibly death. Considered highly toxic to insects (larval and adult stages), methomyl is thought to be metabolically degraded via mixed-function oxidase(s). Methomyl has both a low vapor pressure and Henry’s law constant; hence, volatilization is not a major dissipation route from either water or moist or dry soils. Photolysis represents a minor dissipation pathway; however, under catalytic conditions, degradation via photolysis does occur. Methomyl possesses a moderate-to-high water solubility; thus hydrolysis, under alkaline conditions, represents a major degradation pathway. Methomyl has a low-to-moderate sorption capacity to soil. Although results may vary with soil type and organic matter content, methomyl is unlikely to persist in complex soils. Methomyl is more rapidly degraded by microbes, and bacterial species have been identified that are capable of using methomyl as a carbon and/or nitrogen source. The main degradation products of methomyl from both abiotic and biotic processes are methomyl oxime, acetonitrile, and CO₂. Methomyl is moderately to highly toxic to fishes and very highly toxic to aquatic invertebrates. Methomyl is highly toxic orally to birds and mammals. Methomyl is classed as being highly toxic to humans via oral exposures, moderately toxic via inhalation, and slightly toxic via dermal exposure. At relatively high doses, it can be fatal to humans. Although methomyl has been widely used to treat field crops and has high water solubility, it has only infrequently been detected as a contaminant of water bodies in the USA. It is classified as a restricted-use insecticide because of its toxicity to multiple nontarget species. To prevent nontarget species toxicity or the possibility of contamination, as with all pesticides, great care should be taken when applying methomyl-containing products for agricultural, residential, or other uses.

Concepts: Bacteria, Insect, Nitrogen, Vapor pressure, Insecticide, Partial pressure, Henry's law, Raoult's law


A real turn-on: A luminescent lanthanide metal-organic framework shows strong and fast turn-on responses to N,N-dimethylformamide (DMF) vapor. The selective turn-on effect is triggered mainly by DMF-ligand interactions, along with the removal of quencher, water, from the metal coordination sphere.

Concepts: Fluorescence, Pharmacology, Water, Ligand, Water vapor, Vapor pressure, Vapor, Jimi Hendrix


We investigated the effects of changes in vapor pressure deficit (VPD) on the survival of diapausing (winter form) and non-diapausing (summer form) spider mites Tetranychus urticae Koch and Tetranychus kanzawai Kishida (Acari: Tetranychidae). Adult females of both species were kept without food at VPDs of 0.0, 0.4, 0.7, 1.5, 1.9, or 2.7 kPa for 3, 6, 9, 12, or 15 days at 25 °C. Diapausing females of both species kept at a VPD of ≥0.4 kPa for ≥6 days clearly tolerated desiccation. Under water-saturated conditions (VPD = 0.0 kPa), in which no desiccation occurred, diapausing females showed high starvation tolerance: 90 % survived for up to 15 days. No interspecific differences in tolerance to desiccation or starvation were observed under most conditions. These results indicate that diapause functions increase tolerance to desiccation and starvation. Such multiple tolerances to harsh environments might support winter survival in spider mites.

Concepts: Pressure, Acari, Arachnid, Vapor pressure, Tetranychus urticae, Spider mite, Tetranychus, Acariformes


The development and characterization of environmentally friendly bilayer films from sugar palm starch (SPS) and poly(lactic acid) (PLA) were conducted in this study. The SPS-PLA bilayer films and their individual components were characterized for their physical, mechanical, thermal and water barrier properties. Addition of 50% PLA layer onto 50% SPS layer (SPS50-PLA50) increased the tensile strength of neat SPS film from 7.74 to 13.65MPa but reduced their elongation at break from 46.66 to 15.53%. The incorporation of PLA layer significantly reduced the water vapor permeability as well as the water uptake and solubility of bilayer films which was attributed to the hydrophobic characteristic of the PLA layer. Furthermore, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) image of SPS50-PLA50 revealed lack of strong interfacial adhesion between the SPS and PLA. Overall, the incorporation of PLA layer onto SPS films enhances the suitability of SPS based films for food packaging.

Concepts: Electron, Water, Materials science, Tensile strength, Water vapor, Scanning electron microscope, Vapor pressure, Vapor


Cloud-seeding materials as a promising water-augmentation technology have drawn more attention recently. We designed and synthesized a novel type of core/shell NaCl/TiO2 (CSNT) particles with controlled particle size, which successfully adsorbed more water vapor (~ 295 times at low relative humidity, 20 % RH) than that of pure NaCl, deliquesced at lower environmental RH of 62 - 66 % than the hygroscopic point (hg.p., 75 % RH) of NaCl, and formed larger water droplets ~ 6 - 10 times of its original measured size area, whereas the pure NaCl still remained as crystal at the same condition. The enhanced performance was attributed to the synergistic effect of the hydrophilic TiO2 shell and hygroscopic NaCl core microstructure, which attracted large amount of water vapor and turned it into liquid faster. Moreover, the critical particle size of CSNT particles (0.4 - 10 μm) as cloud-seeding materials was predicted via classical Kelvin equation based on their surface hydrophilicity. Finally, the benefits of CSNT particles for cloud-seeding application were determined visually through in-situ observation under Environmental - Scanning Electron Microscope (E-SEM) in microscale and cloud chamber experiments in macroscale, respectively. These excellent and consistent performances positively confirmed that CSNT particles could be the promising cloud-seeding materials.

Concepts: Electron, Precipitation, Humidity, Water vapor, Relative humidity, Scanning electron microscope, Vapor pressure, Dew point


The maximum height of a siphon is generally assumed to be dependent on barometric pressure-about 10 m at sea level. This limit arises because the pressure in a siphon above the upper reservoir level is below the ambient pressure, and when the height of a siphon approaches 10 m, the pressure at the crown of the siphon falls below the vapour pressure of water causing water to boil breaking the column. After breaking, the columns on either side are supported by differential pressure between ambient and the low-pressure region at the top of the siphon. Here we report an experiment of a siphon operating at sea level at a height of 15 m, well above 10 m. Prior degassing of the water prevented cavitation. This experiment provides conclusive evidence that siphons operate through gravity and molecular cohesion.

Concepts: Water, Pressure, Gas, Atmospheric pressure, Ocean, Vapor pressure, Partial pressure, Evaporation


Despite many studies on the effects of heat on mental health, few studies have examined humidity. In order to investigate the relationship among heat, humidity and mental health, we matched data from the Social, Economic and Environmental Factors (SEEF) project with gridded daily temperature and water vapour pressure data from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. Logit models were employed to describe the associations among heat (assessed using temperature, °C), humidity (assessed using vapour pressure, hPa) and two measures of mental health, (i) high or very high distress (assessed using K10 scores ≥ 22) and (ii) having been treated for depression or anxiety. We found a one-unit increase in temperature and vapour pressure was associated with an increase in the occurrence of high or very high distress by 0.2% (p < 0.001, 99% CI: 0.1-0.3%) and 0.1% (p < 0.001, 99% CI: 0.0-0.3%) respectively. However, when humidity rose to the 99th percentile of the sample, the estimated marginal effect of heat was more than doubled (0.5%, p < 0.001, 99% CI: 0.2-0.7%). Neither heat nor humidity was related to having been treated for depression or anxiety in the last month. Humidity compounds the negative association between hot weather and mental health and thus should be taken into account when reforming the health care system to respond to the challenge of climate change.

Concepts: Climate, Weather, Thermodynamics, Water vapor, Pressure, Meteorology, Vapor pressure, Vapor


Popcorn bursts open, jumps and emits a ‘pop’ sound in some hundredths of a second. The physical origin of these three observations remains unclear in the literature. We show that the critical temperature 180°C at which almost all of popcorn pops is consistent with an elementary pressure vessel scenario. We observe that popcorn jumps with a ‘leg’ of starch which is compressed on the ground. As a result, popcorn is midway between two categories of moving systems: explosive plants using fracture mechanisms and jumping animals using muscles. By synchronizing video recordings with acoustic recordings, we propose that the familiar ‘pop’ sound of the popcorn is caused by the release of water vapour.

Concepts: Plant, Water, Pressure, Gas, Critical point, Vapor pressure, Boiling point, Jump


Rough surfaces immersed under water remain practically dry if the liquid-solid contact is on roughness peaks, while the roughness valleys are filled with gas. Mechanisms that prevent water from invading the valleys are well studied. However, to remain practically dry under water, additional mechanisms need consideration. This is because trapped gas (e.g. air) in the roughness valleys can dissolve into the water pool, leading to invasion. Additionally, water vapor can also occupy the roughness valleys of immersed surfaces. If water vapor condenses, that too leads to invasion. These effects have not been investigated, and are critically important to maintain surfaces dry under water. In this work, we identify the critical roughness scale, below which it is possible to sustain the vapor phase of water and/or trapped gases in roughness valleys - thus keeping the immersed surface dry. Theoretical predictions are consistent with molecular dynamics simulations and experiments.

Concepts: Water, Water vapor, Pressure, Gas, Vapor pressure, Vapor, Evaporation, Gases