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Homogeneous nucleation theory


McClurg, Richard Beatty (1997) Homogeneous nucleation theory. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/Z011-9767.


NOTE: Text or symbols not renderable in plain ASCII are indicated by [...]. Abstract is included in .pdf document. This thesis is composed of a brief preface followed by six chapters addressing various aspects of homogeneous nucleation theory. In the preface, I motivate the need for improved theoretical approaches to resolve the discrepancies between current theory and experiment. The remaining chapters are collected research papers which are in print, in press, or to be submitted as of the writing of the thesis. They were written in collaboration with one or both of my advisors. In Chapter 2, we review current nucleation theories in a statistical mechanical framework. This framework allows us to identify the errors of the various models and to point out internal inconsistencies in some of them. In Chapters 3 and 4, we develop methods to calculate the partition function and thermodynamic properties for noble gas clusters. The methods allow us to describe the asymptotic approach of cluster properties toward the bulk limit with increasing cluster size and to calculate the nucleation rate for supersaturated noble gas vapors. We then apply the methods to the homogeneous nucleation of condensed mercury from a supersaturated vapor in Chapter 5. Chapters 6 and 7 contain portions of the theoretical groundwork needed to extend atomistic nucleation theories to molecular systems. Chapter 6 is a development of a one-dimensional hindered rotor partition function. It sets the stage for the two and three-dimensional hindered rotor partition functions needed to model molecular solids. In Chapter 7 we construct a model for the charge distribution of [...]. We chose this icosahedral molecule as an ideal plastic crystalline substances. The plastic crystals are solids with translational symmetry, but having weak orientational symmetry due largely to their highly symmetric molecular charge distributions. Thus, plastic crystals are ideal hindered rotors in multiple dimensions. I conclude the thesis with some brief comments on my assertion that molecules which form plastic crystals will provide a fruitful common ground for theoretical and experimental investigations of homogeneous nucleation phenomena.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
Major Option:Chemical Engineering
Awards:Constantin G. Economou Memorial Prize, 1994
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Goddard, William A., III (advisor)
  • Flagan, Richard C. (co-advisor)
Thesis Committee:
  • Flagan, Richard C. (chair)
  • Goddard, William A., III
Defense Date:17 December 1996
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-01142008-080911
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:173
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:28 Jan 2008
Last Modified:20 Dec 2019 20:00

Thesis Files

PDF (McClurg_rb_1997.pdf) - Final Version
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