THERMODYNAMICS CRITICAL POINT AND FUSION BASIC INFORMATION AND TUTORIALS


Critical Point
At a pressure of 3206.2 psia, represented by line MNO, there is no constant-temperature vaporization process. Rather, point N is a point of inflection, with the slope being zero.

This point is called the critical point, and at the critical point the saturated-liquid and saturated-vapor states are identical. The temperature, pressure, and specific volume at the critical point are called the critical temperature, critical pressure, and critical volume.

A constant pressure process greater than the critical pressure is represented by line PQ. There is no definite change in phase from liquid to vapor and no definite point at which there is a change from the liquid phase to the vapor phase.

For pressures greater than the critical pressure, the substance is usually called a liquid when the temperature is less than the critical temperature (705.47°F) and a vapor or gas when the temperature is greater than the critical temperature. In the figure, line NJFB represents the saturated liquid line, and the line NKGC represents the saturated vapor line.

Fusion
Suppose the cylinder contained 1 lbm of ice at 0°F, 14.7 psia. When heat is transferred to the ice, the pressure remains constant, the specific volume increases slightly, and the temperature increases until it reaches 32°F, at which point the ice melts while the temperature remains constant.

In this state the ice is called a saturated solid. For most substances, the specific volume increases during this melting process, but for water the specific volume of the liquid is less than the specific volume of the solid.

This causes ice to float on water. When all the ice is melted, any further heat transfer causes an increase in temperature of the liquid. The process of melting is also referred to as fusion. The heat added to melt ice into a liquid is called the latent heat of fusion.

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