Glycerol is a viscous liquid widely used in industry and known for its strong hygroscopic nature. While this unusual property has been well documented from the perspective of solution chemistry, its impact on the mechanical properties of glycerol remains largely unknown. Here, we report a spontaneous Bénard-Marangoni instability in pure glycerol driven by absorption of water vapor. Even under standard laboratory conditions, ambient humidity is sufficient to drive distinct Bénard-Marangoni convection cells for hours. We describe the mechanism of this instability in terms of the vapor transport process and competition between solutal and thermal Marangoni forces, and provide insight into potential uses and impact of this aspect of dynamics driven by moisture absorption in various common settings.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy(all)