Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Chemical Engineering

Major Professor

Venkat Bhethanabotla, Ph.D.


Pesticide, Thermodynamic data, Catechol, Naphthalene, Vacuum


Vapor pressure data are vital to understanding impacts that substances, specifically pesticides, may exert on the environment. They enter into atmospheric deposition models for such chemicals which determine the fate and transport of these species in the environment. At normal application temperatures (i.e. room temperature) the vapor pressures of many of these chemicals are too low to be determined by conventional means. An isothermal Knudsen effusion technique was designed and developed in our laboratory for such measurements. The effusion mass as a function of time is measured in our technique using a thickness shear mode (TSM) acoustic wave sensor, which allows for extremely high (few nanograms) sensitivity. This sensitivity allows for much more rapid determination of low vapor pressures (10-1 to 10-5 Pa) than is possible by other Knudsen effusion techniques. Basing the effusion mass measurement on the TSM sensor as in our apparatus eliminates the typically seen dependence on vibration in conventional microbalance-based effusion techniques. Full design details of our apparatus and specifically the Knudsen cell, based on original equations derived by Knudsen, and many corrections that have been noted in the literature for cell and effusion-hole dimensions, are presented. The accuracy of our methodwas tested by a comparison of published vapor pressure data to vapor pressure data acquired in our laboratory with measurements on naphthalene and catechol.