Theory of evaporation and condensation
The theory of evaporation and condensation is considered from a kinetic theory approach with a particular interest in the continuum limit. The moment method of Lees is used to solve the problem of the steady flow of vapor between a hot liquid surface and a cold liquid surface. By incorporating the singular nature of the problem, the forms of the continuum flow profiles found by Plesset are recovered. The expression for mass flux has the form of the Hertz–Knudsen formula but is larger by a factor of 1.665. A result of the theory is that the temperature profile in the vapor for the continuum problem is inverted from what would seem physically reasonable. This paradox is significant in that it casts a shadow of doubt on the fundamental theory.