An acoustical study of prewetting phenomena in a compressed metallic vapor

Kozhevnikov, Vladimir F.
April 2000
AIP Conference Proceedings;2000, Vol. 505 Issue 1, p291
Academic Journal
Results of an acoustical study of mercury at sub- and supercritical states are reviewed. Sound velocity, attenuation and reflectivity against a buffer-rod/mercury interface have been measured at steady state conditions at temperatures up to 2100 K and pressures up to 190 MPa with molybdenum and niobium cells. The obtained phase diagram contains a first order prewetting phase transition curve, which tangentially meets the coexistence curve at a wetting transition point located below 1250 K. These two curves are well separated, and the prewetting critical point lies well above the bulk liquid-gas critical point. The phase diagram allows one to suggest an explanation for mysterious peculiarities seen both in the vapor phase and in the supercritical region of mercury, including thermopower anomalies first noticed in early seventies. The importance of the prewetting phenomena for safety of nuclear reactors with metallic coolants is discussed.


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