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Homogeneous Condensation—Freezing Nucleation Rate Measurements for Small Water Droplets in an Expansion Cloud Chamber

Donald E. HagenPhysics Department and Graduate Center for Cloud Physics Research, University of Missouri, Rolla 65401

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Rodney J. AndersonPhysics Department and Graduate Center for Cloud Physics Research, University of Missouri, Rolla 65401

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James L. Kassner Jr.Physics Department and Graduate Center for Cloud Physics Research, University of Missouri, Rolla 65401

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Abstract

Experimental data on ice nucleation, presented in an earlier paper, are analyzed to yield information about the homogeneous nucleation rate of ice from supercooled liquid and the heights of energy barriers to that nucleation. The experiment consisted of using an expansion cloud chamber to nucleate from the vapor a cloud of supercooled pure water drops and the observation of the fraction of drops which subsequently froze. The analysis employed standard classical homogeneous nucleation theory. The data are used to extract the first experimental measurement (albeit indirect) of the activation energy for the transfer of a water molecule across the liquid-ice interface at temperatures near −40°C. The results provide further evidence that the local liquid structure becomes more icelike as the temperature is lowered.

Abstract

Experimental data on ice nucleation, presented in an earlier paper, are analyzed to yield information about the homogeneous nucleation rate of ice from supercooled liquid and the heights of energy barriers to that nucleation. The experiment consisted of using an expansion cloud chamber to nucleate from the vapor a cloud of supercooled pure water drops and the observation of the fraction of drops which subsequently froze. The analysis employed standard classical homogeneous nucleation theory. The data are used to extract the first experimental measurement (albeit indirect) of the activation energy for the transfer of a water molecule across the liquid-ice interface at temperatures near −40°C. The results provide further evidence that the local liquid structure becomes more icelike as the temperature is lowered.

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