Critical pressure

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Critical Pressure refers to the pressure of a substance at the critical point, where the liquid and gas phases of the substance have the same density and are indistinguishable from each other. This concept is crucial in the study of thermodynamics and physical chemistry, particularly in the understanding of phase transitions and the properties of substances under extreme conditions.

Definition[edit | edit source]

The critical pressure (Pc) is defined as the pressure required to liquefy a gas at its critical temperature. Beyond this point, the substance cannot exist as a liquid, regardless of the pressure applied. The critical pressure is a characteristic property of each substance, varying significantly between different materials.

Critical Point[edit | edit source]

The critical point is a condition of temperature and pressure at which the distinctions between the liquid and gas phases of a substance disappear. At this point, the substance becomes a supercritical fluid, exhibiting properties of both gas and liquid phases. The critical point is defined by two parameters: the critical temperature (Tc) and the critical pressure (Pc).

Importance in Science and Engineering[edit | edit source]

Understanding the critical pressure is essential in various scientific and engineering applications, including the design of equipment for the liquefaction of gases, supercritical fluid extraction, and the study of phase behavior in chemical engineering. Supercritical fluids, existing above their critical pressure and temperature, are used in a wide range of industrial processes due to their unique solvating properties.

Measurement and Calculation[edit | edit source]

The critical pressure of a substance can be measured experimentally or calculated using equations of state, such as the Van der Waals equation or the Redlich-Kwong equation. These equations relate the pressure, volume, and temperature of a substance, allowing for the determination of critical properties.

Examples[edit | edit source]

Water has a critical pressure of approximately 22.064 MPa and a critical temperature of 647.096 K. Carbon dioxide, another commonly studied substance, has a critical pressure of 7.38 MPa and a critical temperature of 304.25 K. The critical pressures and temperatures of substances are key data in the design of processes involving phase changes.

Applications[edit | edit source]

Critical pressure plays a vital role in various applications, including:

  • Supercritical fluid extraction: Utilizing the solvating properties of supercritical fluids to extract compounds from various matrices.
  • Liquefied natural gas (LNG) production: Involves cooling natural gas below its critical temperature at high pressure.
  • Chemical synthesis: Reactions conducted in supercritical fluids can offer advantages in terms of reaction rates and selectivities.

See Also[edit | edit source]

Critical pressure Resources
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Contributors: Prab R. Tumpati, MD