Visualization of supercritical water pseudo-boiling at Widom line crossover

Supercritical water is a green solvent used in many technological applications including materials synthesis, nuclear engineering, bioenergy, or waste treatment and it occurs in nature. Despite its relevance in natural systems and technical applications, the supercritical state of water is still not well understood. Recent theories predict that liquid-like (LL) and gas-like (GL) supercritical water are metastable phases, and that the so-called Widom line zone is marking the crossover between LL and GL behavior of water. With neutron imaging techniques, we succeed to monitor density fluctuations of supercritical water while the system evolves rapidly from LL to GL as the Widom line is crossed during isobaric heating. Our observations show that the Widom line of water can be identified experimentally and they are in agreement with the current theory of supercritical fluid pseudo-boiling. This fundamental understanding allows optimizing and developing new technologies using supercritical water as a solvent.

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Nature Communications, 10, 4114, 1-11
Sep 18 2019
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 Record created 2019-09-18, last modified 2019-12-05

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