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Published April 1, 1984 | public
Journal Article Open

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.

Additional Information

Copyright © 1984 American Institute of Physics (Received 10 May 1982; accepted 6 October 1983) The study was supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. ENG 75-22676 and by the California Institute of Technology.


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