Supersonic nozzle experiments were performed with a fixed water or ethanol vapor pressure and varying amounts of nitrogen to test the hypothesis that carrier gas pressure affects the onset of condensation. Such an effect might occur if nonisothermal nucleation were important under conditions of excess carrier gas in the atmospheric pressure range, as has been suggested by Ford and Clement [J. Phys. A 22, 4007 (1989)]. Although a small increase was observed in the condensation onset temperature as the stagnation pressure was reduced from 3 to 0.5 atm, these changes cannot be attributed to any nonisothermal effects. The pulsed nozzle experiments also exhibited two interesting anomalies: (1) the density profiles for the water and ethanol mixtures were shifted in opposite directions from the dry N2 profile; (2) a long transient period was required before the nozzle showed good pulse-to-pulse repeatability for condensible vapor mixtures. To theoretically simulate the observed onset behavior, calculations of nucleation and droplet growth in the nozzle were performed that took into account two principal effects of varying the carrier gas pressure: (1) the change in nozzle shape due to boundary layer effects and (2) the variation in the heat capacity of the flowing gas. Energy transfer limitations were neglected in calculating the nucleation rates. The trend of the calculated results matched that of the experimental results very well. Thus, heat capacity and boundary layer effects are sufficient to explain the experimental onset behavior without invoking energy transfer limited nucleation. The conclusions about the rate of nucleation are consistent with those obtained recently using an expansion cloud chamber, but are at odds with results from thermal diffusion cloud chamber measurements.



Keywords and Phrases

Condensation; Experimental Measurements; Nozzles; Supersonic

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version

Final Version

File Type





© 1994 American Institute of Physics (AIP), All rights reserved.

Included in

Physics Commons