L. C. Brodie

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Environmental Sciences and Resources: Physics



Physical Description

x, 196 leaves: ill. 28 cm.


Nucleation, Heat -- Transmission, Liquid helium




We report the results of a series of experimental studies in two interrelated areas: homogeneous nucleation and transient heat transfer in cryogenic liquids. We report the first determination of the homogeneous nucleation temperature of liquid helium I and liquid nitrogen employing a transient superheating technique. This technique in liquid helium involved the development of a new transient magnetoresistive thermometer which relies on the strong temperaure dependence of magnetoresistance in bismuth as a thermometric property. Our measurements of the homogeneous nucleation temperature for both liquid helium I and nitrogen are in good agreement with the predictions from the Becker-Doring Volmer-Zel'dovich-Frenkel nucleation theory. On the basis of such agreement between theory and experiment in both liquid helium and liquid nitrogen we have developed a corresponding state analysis applicable to the case of homogeneous nucleation in liquid noble gases, both quantum and classical. Predictions of the homogeneous nucleation temperature and surface tension of several hydrogen isotopes are made from such a quantum mechanical law of corresponding states. We also comment on the limiting superheat temperature of liquid helium I. It is suggested that a comparison between the limiting superheat temperaure and the peak nucleate boiling temperature is meaningless and that the reported agreement between the two is largely fortuitous. In the studies of transient heat transfer in helium we find that the heat transfer from a solid into liquid helium is markedly enhanced by the application of a visible pulse of light. In liquid nitrogen we find that a transition to stable film boiling can be observed for power values as low as 40 per cent of the steady-state peak heat flux.


Portland State University. Environmental Sciences and Resources Ph. D. Program.

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