Homogeneous nucleation of vapor by depressurization at constant volume

C. D. Sulfredge, K. A. Tagavi, L. C. Chow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


An analysis has been carried out to determine the thermodynamic requirements for homogeneous nucleation of a vapor bubble when the pressure drops inside a constant-volume container of liquid. This situation can occur in phase change processes when a rigid vessel tilled with liquid is cooled. The nucleation equations at constant volume have a somewhat different character from their more familiar constant-pressure counterparts that reflects the change in the boundary conditions for bubble formation. Both the physical and mathematical implications of the new solution are explored in detail, and it is shown to reduce to the well known constant-pressure result in the limiting case of a very large container volume. To illustrate an application of the new equations, some numerical examples have been worked out for homogeneous nucleation of water with various container sizes and initial liquid temperatures. In addition to increasing fundamental understanding of homogeneous nucleation, these results should prove valuable for calculation purposes when vapor nucleation takes place under isochoric rather than isobaric conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-246
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1996

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements--This material is based upon work partly supported under the first author's University of Kentucky Dissertation Year Fellowship, and additional funding was provided by the Air Force Aero Propulsion and Power Laboratory, Contract F33615-87-C-2777. The authors would also like to thank Dr. Chi-Sing Man for reviewing a partial draft of this manuscript and making many helpful suggestions.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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