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16 July 2020
  » arxiv » cond-mat/0406214

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Liquid-gas coexistence and critical point shifts in size-disperse fluids
Nigel B. Wilding ; Moreno Fasolo ; Peter Sollich ;
Date 9 Jun 2004
Subject Soft Condensed Matter; Statistical Mechanics | cond-mat.soft cond-mat.stat-mech
AbstractSpecialized Monte Carlo simulations and the moment free energy (MFE) method are employed to study liquid-gas phase equilibria in size-disperse fluids. The investigation is made subject to the constraint of fixed polydispersity, i.e. the form of the `parent’ density distribution $ ho^0(sigma)$ of the particle diameters $sigma$, is prescribed. This is the experimentally realistic scenario for e.g. colloidal dispersions. The simulations are used to obtain the cloud and shadow curve properties of a Lennard-Jones fluid having diameters distributed according to a Schulz form with a large (40%) degree of polydispersity. Good qualitative accord is found with the results from a MFE method study of a corresponding van der Waals model that incorporates size-dispersity both in the hard core reference and the attractive parts of the free energy. The results show that polydispersity engenders considerable broadening of the coexistence region between the cloud curves. The principal effect of fractionation in this region is a common overall scaling of the particle sizes and typical inter-particle distances, and we discuss why this effect is rather specific to systems with Schulz diameter distributions. Next, by studying a family of such systems with distributions of various widths, we estimate the dependence of the critical point parameters on $delta$. In contrast to a previous theoretical prediction, size-dispersity is found to raise the critical temperature above its monodisperse value. Unusually for a polydisperse system, the critical point is found to lie at or very close to the extremum of the coexistence region in all cases. We outline an argument showing that such behaviour will occur whenever size polydispersity affects only the range, rather than the strength of the inter-particle interactions.
Source arXiv, cond-mat/0406214
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