Study of nonsteady diffusional growth of a droplet in a supersaturated vapor: Treatment of the moving boundary and material balance
Journal of Chemical Physics
A new mathematical treatment of the problem of droplet growth via diffusion of molecules from a supersaturated vapor is presented. The theory is based on a semiquantitative analysis with good physical arguments and is justified by its reasonable predictions. For example it recovers the time honored growth law in which, to a high degree of approximation, the droplet radius increases with the square root of time. Also, to a high degree of approximation, it preserves material balance such that, at
... lance such that, at any time, the number of molecules lost from the vapor equals the number in the droplet. Estimates of the remaining approximational error are provided. On another issue, we show that, in contrast, the conventional treatment of droplet growth does not maintain material balance. This issue could be especially important for the nucleation of another droplet in the vicinity of the growing droplet where the rate of nucleation depends exponentially on supersaturation. Suggestions for further improvement of rigor are discussed.