Capillary condensation in cylindrical nanopores

Silvina M. Gatica, Milton W. Cole

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24 Scopus citations


Using grand canonical Monte Carlo simulations, we have explored the phenomenon of capillary condensation (CC) of Ar at the triple temperature inside infinitely long, cylindrical pores. Pores of radius R=1nm, 1.7 nm, and 2.5 nm have been investigated using a gas-surface interaction potential parametrized by the well depth D of the gas on a planar surface made of the same material as that comprising the porous host. For strongly attractive situations-i.e., large D-one or more (depending on R) Ar layers adsorb successively before liquid fills the pore. For very small values of D, in contrast, negligible adsorption occurs at any pressure P below saturated vapor pressure P0; above saturation, there eventually occurs a threshold value of P at which the coverage jumps from empty to full, nearly discontinuously. Hysteresis is found to occur in the simulation data whenever abrupt CC occurs-i.e., for R≥1.7nm-and for small D when R=1nm. Then, the pore-emptying branch of the adsorption isotherm exhibits larger coverage N than the pore-filling branch, as is known from many experiments and simulation studies. The relation between CC and wetting on planar surfaces is discussed in terms of a threshold value of D, which is about one-half of the value found for the wetting threshold on a planar surface. This finding is consistent with a simple thermodynamic model of the wetting transition developed previously.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number041602
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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