Self-consistent cluster approach to the homogeneous kinetic nucleation theory

V.I. Kalikmanov, M.E.H. van Dongen

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    An alternative, self-consistent formulation of the homogeneous nucleation theory has been proposed. This approach differs from the classical Becker-Döring-Zeldovich theory in two respects: (i) evaporation rates are evaluated by referring to the stable equilibrium of a saturated vapor rather than to the constrained metastable equilibrium of a supersaturated vapor; and (ii) for the reference stable equilibrium state the Fisher theory of condensation is used in order to obtain a self-consistent definition of the free-energy barrier for l-cluster formation, where l is the number of molecules in the cluster. A comparison of the expressions for the nucleation rate and critical cluster size with the corresponding classical expressions has been made for the different parts of the phase diagram (temperature-supersaturation) and the domain where both theories are close has been found. Predictions of the present theory have been compared with the experimental results on nucleation of n-nonane for the three sets of experiments (diffusion cloud chamber, fast-expansion cloud chamber, and two-piston cloud chamber). It has been shown that the present theory has a much better agreement with experimental results for n-nonane than the classical theory.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3532-3539
    Number of pages8
    JournalPhysical Review E: Statistical, Physics, Plasmas, Fluids, and Related Interdisciplinary Topics
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 1 May 1993


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