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Journal Articles Scientific Reports Year : 2023

Evaporative destabilization of a salt crust with branched pattern formation


Abstract The impact of salt crust formation over porous media on water evaporation is an important issue in relation with the water cycle, agriculture, building sciences and more. The salt crust is not a simple accumulation of salt crystals at the porous medium surface but undergoes complex dynamics with possible air gap formation between the crust and the porous medium surface. We report on experiments that allow to identify various crust evolution regimes depending on the competition between evaporation and vapor condensation. The various regimes are summarized in a diagram. We focus on the regime where dissolution–precipitation processes lead to the upward displacement of the salt crust and the generation of a branched pattern. It is shown that the branched pattern results from the crust upper surface destabilization whereas the crust lower surface remains essentially flat. We show that the resulting branched efflorescence salt crust is heterogeneous with a greater porosity in the salt fingers. This leads to the preferential drying of the salt fingers followed by a period in which the crust morphology change only occurs in the salt crust lower region. The salt crust eventually tends toward a frozen state where no visible change occurs in the salt crust morphology, but without blocking the evaporation. These findings provide in-depth insights into the salt crust dynamics and pave the way for the better understanding of the impact of efflorescence salt crusts on evaporation and the development of predictive models.
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hal-04161174 , version 1 (03-11-2023)




G. Licsandru, C. Noiriel, P. Duru, S. Geoffroy, Ariane Abou-Chakra, et al.. Evaporative destabilization of a salt crust with branched pattern formation. Scientific Reports, 2023, 13 (1), pp.5132. ⟨10.1038/s41598-023-31640-6⟩. ⟨hal-04161174⟩
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