Use of a Cubic Equation to Predict Surface Tension and Spinodal Limits

[+] Author and Article Information
P. O. Biney, Wei-guo Dong, J. H. Lienhard

Heat Transfer and Phase-Change Laboratory, Mechanical Engineering Department, University of Houston, Houston, TX 77004

J. Heat Transfer 108(2), 405-410 (May 01, 1986) (6 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3246938 History: Received November 08, 1984; Online October 20, 2009


The very general Shamsundar–Murali cubic equation is used to interpolate p–v–T data into the metastable and unstable regions. This yields a spinodal line that closely matches the homogeneous nucleation limit predicted by an improved kinetic theory. Only the pressure, the saturated liquid and vapor volumes, and the liquid compressibility at saturation, as well as one compressed liquid data point, are needed to use the cubic equation for the interpolation process. The equation also yields an accurate prediction of the temperature dependence of surface tension when it is substituted in van der Waals’ surface tension formula. Thus, by capitalizing on the inherent relation among the p–v–T equation, the spinodal prediction, and the surface tension—all three—it is possible to obtain each with high accuracy and minimal experimental data.

Copyright © 1986 by ASME
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