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The Viscosity of Fluids in the Critical Region


Strumpf, Hal Jeffry (1972) The Viscosity of Fluids in the Critical Region. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/1FYM-6N97.


The viscosity of xenon has been measured along ten isochores and the viscosity of ethane has been measured along five isochores in the region of the gas-liquid critical point. The viscometer was a specially cut quartz cylinder, which was excited into a torsionally oscillating mode upon application of an alternating voltage. The cylinder, oscillating in this manner, generated a viscous wave when immersed in a fluid. The viscous wave caused an impedance loading on the quartz which changed its resonant resistance and frequency. This change in resonant properties can be related to the viscosity-density product of the fluid.

The resonant properties of the quartz crystal were measured by connecting the crystal to the unknown arm of a Wheatstone bridge circuit, modified so as to measure parallel resistance and capacitance. The crystal was driven by a very stable frequency generator, and the circuit was tuned using an oscilloscope as a null detector.

The crystal was enclosed in a high pressure stainless steel cell and placed in a water thermostat which controlled temperature to ± 0.001°C. The temperature was measured with a calibrated platinum resistance thermometer. The density was determined by a gravimetric technique.

The viscosities exhibit an "anomalous" increase as the critical temperature is approached along an isochore of close to critical density. The anomaly is consistent with a logarithmic divergence of the form:

∆ƞ = A log ɛ + ʙ

where ∆ƞ is the anomalous viscosity, ɛ is the reduced temperature difference from critical, and A and ʙ are constants. The possibility of an exponential divergence or a cusp-type finite limit for viscosity is not precluded, however.

The critical temperatures and densities have been determined by visual observations. For xenon, Tc = 16.627 ± 0.005°C, ρc = 1.11 ± 0.01 g/cm3 ; for ethane, Tc = 32.218 ± 0.005°C, ρc = 0.2055 ± 0.002 g/cm3. The temperatures are stated with respect to the 1968 International Practical Temperature Scale.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:(Chemical Engineering)
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
Major Option:Chemical Engineering
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Pings, Cornelius J.
Thesis Committee:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:21 April 1972
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Stauffer FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
New York State Regents FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
Fluor FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:09062016-112046701
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:9913
Deposited On:07 Sep 2016 19:31
Last Modified:08 Apr 2024 21:46

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