Critical and supercritical fluids have a variety of applications, from use as machine lubricants in high pressure or high temperature environments to the manufacturing of materials such as aerogel. The optical properties of fluids undergo rapid changes near the critical point resulting in a rapid increase in turbidity known as critical opalescence. These optical changes can be used to probe the universality of critical behavior. As a fluid approaches the critical point, the compressibility rapidly increases. In a gravitational field, this increase in compressibility leads to near-critical fluids stratifying by phase and density, making it difficult to observe the optical properties of the fluid. Therefore it becomes necessary to study critical fluids in a reduced gravity environment. The HYdrogen Levitation DEvice (HYLDE) apparatus at CEA-Grenoble was used to study cells filled with oxygen and hydrogen suspended in a magnetic field as they were gradually decreased from the critical temperature (Tc). Using shadowgraph methods, we analyzed intensity map data to determine the light transmission and turbidity of critical and near critical hydrogen and oxygen. Turbidity measurements were made for a hydrogen filled cell at light wavelengths of 465.2 nm, 519.4 nm, and 669.4 nm. The turbidity of the oxygen filled cell was measured at 400 nm, 450 nm, 500 nm, and 650 nm.
Hawkins, Christian; Oprisan, Ana; Lecoutre-Chabot, Carole; Garrabos, Yves; and Beysens, Daniel
"Studying Near-Critical and Super-Critical Fluids in Reduced Gravity,"
Journal of the South Carolina Academy of Science: Vol. 17
, Article 4.
Available at: https://scholarcommons.sc.edu/jscas/vol17/iss2/4