Homogeneous water nucleation: Experimental study on pressure and carrier gas effects

M.M. Campagna (Corresponding author), J. Hrubý, M.E.H. van Dongen, D.M.J. Smeulders

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Homogeneous nucleation of water is investigated in argon and in nitrogen at about 240 K and 0.1 MPa, 1 MPa, and 2 MPa by means of a pulse expansion wave tube. The surface tension reduction at high pressure qualitatively explains the observed enhancement of the nucleation rate of water in argon as well as in nitrogen. The differences in nucleation rates for the two mixtures at high pressure are consistent with the differences in adsorption behavior of the different carrier gas molecules. At low pressure, there is not enough carrier gas available to ensure the growing clusters are adequately thermalized by collisions with carrier gas molecules so that the nucleation rate is lower than under isothermal conditions. This reduction depends on the carrier gas, pressure, and temperature. A qualitative agreement between experiments and theory is found for argon and nitrogen as carrier gases. As expected, the reduction in the nucleation rates is more pronounced at higher temperatures. For helium as the carrier gas, non-isothermal effects appear to be substantially stronger than predicted by theory. The critical cluster sizes are determined experimentally and theoretically according to the Gibbs-Thomson equation, showing a reasonable agreement as documented in the literature. Finally, we propose an empirical correction of the classical nucleation theory for the nucleation rate calculation. The empirical expression is in agreement with the experimental data for the analyzed mixtures (water-helium, water-argon, and water-nitrogen) and thermodynamic conditions (0.06 MPa-2 MPa and 220 K-260 K).

Originele taal-2Engels
Aantal pagina's15
TijdschriftJournal of Chemical Physics
Nummer van het tijdschrift16
StatusGepubliceerd - 28 okt. 2020

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Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


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