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Gibbs-Thomson effect

The Gibbs-Thomson effect (not to be confused with the Thomson effect) relates surface curvature to vapor pressure and chemical potential. It is named after Josiah Willard Gibbs and three Thomsons: James Thomson, William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin, and Sir Joseph John Thomson.

It leads to the fact that small liquid droplets (i.e. particles with a high surface curvature) exhibit a higher effective vapor pressure, since the surface is larger in comparison to the volume. The Gibbs-Thomson effect can cause strong depression of the freezing point of liquids dispersed within fine porous materials.

Another notable example of the Gibbs-Thomson effect is Ostwald ripening, in which concentration gradients cause small precipitates to dissolve and larger ones to grow.

The Gibbs-Thomson equation for a precipitate with radius R is:

\frac{p}{p_{eq}} = \exp{\left(\frac{R_{critical}}{R}\right)}

R_{critical} = \frac{2 \cdot \gamma \cdot V_{Atom}}{k_B \cdot T}

VAtom : Atomic volume
kB  : Boltzmann constant
γ  : Surface tension (J \cdot m − 2)
peq  : Equilibrium partial pressure (or chemical potential or concentration)
p  : Partial pressure (or chemical potential or concentration)
T  : Absolute temperature

Ostwald ripening is thought to occur in the formation of orthoclase megacrysts in granites as a consequence of subsolidus growth. See rock microstructure for more.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Gibbs-Thomson_effect". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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