Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Mechanical Engineering

Major Professor

Alex Volinsky, Ph.D.


Arrhenius Equation, Activation energy, Evaporation rates


There are many products, including hard drives, which require trace amounts, on the order of several mg, of lubricants for proper operation. The following study investigated the evaporation rates of pump oil and several alkanes, which have a wide range of applications, using a thermogravimetric machine. Both static and dynamic temperature tests were conducted. The rate of evaporation of the test specimen was determined as the percentage of mass loss per unit time. Using the Arrhenius Equation, the activation energy of the evaporation process, Ea, can be calculated as the slope of the best fit line for a plot of the ln(k) vs. 1/T (where k represents the rate of the evaporation). These values were shown to have good agreement with the enthalpy of vaporization calculated from the Clausius Clapeyron Equation and with the activation energy calculated using the Freeman and Carroll Method. The alkanes were compared using the rate of evaporation and the amount of activation energy required for evaporation as model systems. Further investigations were conducted to determine the relationship of surface area of the evaporating liquid and the rate of evaporation. It is suggested that the surface area is a function that depends on the activation, bonding, and interfacial energies of the liquid. However, the wetting angle, which aids in the description of the surface area, depends on the surface energy. Subsequent modeling was conducted in an attempt to predict the evaporation characteristics of other lubricants for the purpose of comparison.