How aerosols are formed

ETH Zurich researchers conducted an experiment to investigate the initial steps in the formation of aerosols. Their findings are now aiding efforts to better understand and model that process—for example, the formation ...

New microscope technique reveals details of droplet nucleation

Nucleation is a ubiquitous phenomenon that governs the formation of both droplets and bubbles in systems used for condensation, desalination, water splitting, crystal growth, and many other important industrial processes. ...

Inside the black box of iron oxide formation

From the splendorous red hues in the Grand Canyon to the mundane rust attacking a neglected bicycle, iron hydroxides are all around us. As a matter of fact, they are just as common as quartz, which is the most widely distributed ...

Rate prediction for homogeneous nucleation of methane hydrate

Methane hydrates are the single biggest source of fossil fuel on planet earth and play a role in climate change. The molecular process of their formation is not known and heavily debated. In a paper in the Journal of Physical ...

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Nucleation

Nucleation is the extremely localized budding of a distinct thermodynamic phase. Some examples of phases that may form by way of nucleation in liquids are gaseous bubbles, crystals or glassy regions. Creation of liquid droplets in saturated vapor is also characterized by nucleation (see Cloud condensation nuclei). Nucleation of crystalline, amorphous and even vacancy clusters solid materials is also important, for example to the semiconductor industry. Most nucleation processes are physical, rather than chemical, but a few exceptions do exist (e.g. electrochemical nucleation). A good example would be the famous Diet Coke and Mentos eruption. Nucleation normally occurs at nucleation sites on surfaces contacting the liquid or vapor. Suspended particles or minute bubbles also provide nucleation sites. This is called heterogeneous nucleation. Nucleation without preferential nucleation sites is homogeneous nucleation. Homogeneous nucleation occurs spontaneously and randomly, but it requires superheating or supercooling of the medium. Nucleation is involved in such processes as cloud seeding and in instruments such as the bubble chamber and the cloud chamber.

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