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Introduction To Thermodynamics

Introduction To Thermodynamics

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Published by Kusuma Zulyanto
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Published by: Kusuma Zulyanto on Jan 06, 2013
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Figure 4.4: A P −v−T surface for a substance which expands upon melting.

compressed. Of course, above the critical point the liquid and gas regions merge


In Fig. 4.4 the term “gas” is used above the critical point, and “vapor”

below it. This convention dates back to the early 19th century, when it was

thought that “gases” like oxygen were different than “vapors” like steam. Va-

pors could be condensed to liquid, but gases (it was believed) could not be.

When it was demonstrated in 1877 that oxygen and nitrogen could be liquified

at sufficiently low temperature, it became clear that there was no fundamental

distinction between gases and vapors; the only difference is that substances such

as oxygen have critical temperatures well below room temperature, while the

critical temperature of water is above room temperature. Thus, liquid water is

commonplace, but liquid oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, or helium are not. How-

ever, processes to produce these as liquids are now straightforward, and liquid

oxygen, nitrogen, and helium have very significant technological applications.3

The slope of the P−v−T surface is discontinuous on the boundary between

the single-phase and the two-phase regions. Note that since T remains constant


For example, liquidhydrogenand oxygenas used as propellantsin the SpaceShuttleMain

Engine; liquid nitrogen is widely used to cool electronicequipment and photodetectors;liquid
helium is used to cool large superconducting magnets to temperatures a few degrees above
absolute zero.

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