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Fluid phase thermodynamics : I) nucleate pool boiling of oxygen under magnetically enhanced gravity and II) superconducting cavity resonators for high-stability frequency references and precision density measurements of helium-4 gas

Citation

Corcovilos, Theodore Allen (2008) Fluid phase thermodynamics : I) nucleate pool boiling of oxygen under magnetically enhanced gravity and II) superconducting cavity resonators for high-stability frequency references and precision density measurements of helium-4 gas. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. http://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechETD:etd-07172007-132955

Abstract

Although fluids are typically the first systems studied in undergraduate thermodynamics classes, we still have only a rudimentary phenomenological understanding of these systems outside of the classical and equilibrium regimes. Two experiments will be presented. First, we present progress on precise measurements of helium-4 gas at low temperatures (1 K-5 K). We study helium because at low densities it is an approximately ideal gas but at high densities the thermodynamic properties can be predicted by numerical solutions of Schroedinger's equation. By utilizing the high resolution and stability in frequency of a superconducting microwave cavity resonator we can measure the dielectric constant of helium-4 to parts in 109, corresponding to an equivalent resolution in density. These data will be used to calculate the virial coefficients of the helium gas so that we may compare with numerical predictions from the literature. Additionally, our data may allow us to measure Boltzmann's constant to parts in 108, a factor of 100 improvement over previous measurements. This work contains a description of the nearly-completed apparatus and the methods of operation and data analysis for this experiment. Data will be taken by future researchers.

The second experiment discussed is a study of nucleate pool boiling. To date, no adequate quantitative model exists of this everyday phenomenon. In our experiment, we vary one parameter inaccessible to most researchers, gravity, by applying a magnetic force to our test fluid, oxygen. Using this technique, we may apply effective gravities of 0-80 times Earth's gravitational acceleration (g). In this work we present heat transfer data for the boiling of oxygen at one atmosphere ambient pressure for effective gravity values between 1g and 16g . Our data describe two relationships between applied heat flux and temperature differential: at low heat flux the system obeys a power law and at high heat flux the behavior is linear. We find that the transition heat flux between these two regimes scales as the 4th root of the gravitational acceleration, which may indicate a relationship to the critical heat flux. Additionally, we find that the low heat flux power law exponent is independent of gravity and the power law scale coefficient increases linearly with gravity.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:boiling; equation of state; fluids; gravity; helium; nucleate pool boiling; oxygen; superconducting cavity; thermodynamics
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy
Major Option:Physics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Yeh, Nai-Chang
Thesis Committee:
  • Yeh, Nai-Chang (chair)
  • Goodstein, David L.
  • Strayer, Donald
  • Cross, Michael Clifford
Defense Date:11 June 2007
Author Email:corcoted (AT) gmail.com
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-07172007-132955
Persistent URL:http://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechETD:etd-07172007-132955
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:2914
Collection:CaltechTHESIS
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:07 Aug 2007
Last Modified:06 Mar 2013 19:47

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