The author describes an expansion cloud chamber for the study of the nucleation of a single component vapor (homogeneous nucleation). The design draws on the many years of experience in this Center in construction of chambers for homogeneous nucleation of water. Design features of the chamber are exact control of temperature (±0.03° C), pressure (±0.5 mm Hg), and automatic control of cycling. Construction features are all construction materials are stainless steel, glass, or fluorocarbon plastics; the piston seal is a very flexible welded stainless-steel bellows; the chamber can be made very clean by heating under vacuum, and it is compatible with many substances, e.g., ethanol, nonane, and toluene. Performance features are excellent repeatability of the expansion cycle over a temperature range of 45° to - 15°C and in day-to-day operation. Safety features are automatic detection and warning and inerting against fire and explosion from combustible vapor in the chamber enclosure. The determination of the gas temperature at the maximum expansion is discussed as well as the importance of the "fast" pulse technique for the measurement of high nucleation rates.



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Publication Date

01 Dec 1981

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