Title: Cross-over between first-order and critical wetting at the liquid-vapour interface of n-alkane/methanol mixtures: Tricritical wetting and critical prewetting
Authors: Posazhennikova, AI ×
Indekeu, Joseph
Ross, D
Bonn, D
Meunier, J #
Issue Date: 2003
Series Title: Journal of statistical physics vol:110 issue:3-6 pages:611-658
Conference: date:Katholieke Univ Leuven, Vaste Stof Fys & Magnetisme Lab, B-3001 Louvain, Belgium; Natl Inst Stand & Technol, Gaithersburg, MD 20899 USA; Ecole Normale Super, Phys Stat Lab, F-75231 Paris, France
Abstract: A simple mean- field theory is presented which describes the basic observations of recent experiments revealing rich wetting behaviour of n - alkane/ methanol mixtures at the liquid- vapour interface. The theory, qualitative and in part heuristic, is based on a microscopic lattice- gas model from which a Cahn Landau approach is distilled. Besides the physics associated with the short- range components of the intermolecular interactions, effects of the long- range tails of the net van der Waals forces between interfaces are also taken into account. Further, gravitational thinning of the wetting phase is incorporated. The calculation of the spreading coefficient S is extended to the experimentally relevant situation in which the bulk adsorbate is slightly away from two- phase coexistence due to gravity. Analysis of this novel approximation to S for systems with short- range forces leads to the conclusion that the surface specific heat exponents alpha(s) = 1, 1/ 2, and 0, for first-order wetting, tricritical wetting and critical wetting, respectively, are robust with respect to ( weak) gravitational thinning, consistently with experiment. For three different systems the adsorption is calculated as a function of temperature and compared with the experimentally measured ellipticity. Including weak long- range forces which favour wetting in the theory does not visibly alter the critical wetting transition for the nonane/ methanol mixture, in contrast with the generic expectation of first- order wetting for such systems, but in good agreement with experiment. For decane/ methanol weak long- range forces bring the transition very close to the prewetting critical point, leading to an adsorption behaviour closely reminiscent of short- range tricritical wetting, observed experimentally for alkane chain length between 9.6 and 10. Finally, for undecane/ methanol the transition is clearly of first order. First- order wetting is also seen in the experiment.
ISSN: 0022-4715
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IT
Appears in Collections:Solid State Physics and Magnetism Section
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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