We apply methods of density-functional theory in statistical mechanics to study the properties of droplets and bubbles formed on a single cylindrical plate or between two such disks immersed in a metastable fluid. Our approach allows us to analyze the properties of different types of aggregates and investigate the effect of disk size, disk separation, and solid-fluid interactions on the dynamics of a liquid-vapor phase transition. The finite size of disks induces nucleation phenomena that are not observed in the cases of either a planar wall or a slit pore. Heterogeneous nucleation on a single disk is characterized by the existence of two distinct types of critical nuclei that control the phase-transition dynamics at different supersaturations. Asymmetric droplets or bubbles formed on one side of the disk are the preferred nucleation path at high supersaturations. However, these types of aggregates become unstable close to the binodal, where they abruptly collapse into nuclei that engulf the cylindrical plates. Droplet or bubble nucleation in between two disks may occur through a free-energy barrier with one or two maxima depending on the value of the system parameters and the supersaturation. Metastable droplets or bubbles corresponding to local minima of the free energy are observed forming between two plates only after density fluctuations in the system achieve a critical size. These types of aggregates only exist for cylindrical plates larger than a minimum size given a fixed distance between the disks. The stability of these droplets and bubbles decreases when the plates are separated.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry