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Langmuir. 2004 Jul 20;20(15):6482-9.

Modeling mercury porosimetry using statistical mechanics.

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Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts 01003-9303, USA.


We consider mercury porosimetry from the perspective of the statistical thermodynamics of penetration of a nonwetting liquid into a porous material under an external pressure. We apply density functional theory to a lattice gas model of the system and use this to compute intrusion/extrusion curves. We focus on the specific example of a Vycor glass and show that essential features of mercury porosimetry experiments can be modeled in this way. The lattice model exhibits a symmetry that provides a direct relationship between intrusion/extrusion curves for a nonwetting fluid and adsorption/desorption isotherms for a wetting fluid. This relationship clarifies the status of methods that are used for transforming mercury intrusion/extrusion curves into gas adsorption/desorption isotherms. We also use Monte Carlo simulations to investigate the nature of the intrusion and extrusion processes.


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