Capillary Condensation in Confined Media

Authored by: Elisabeth Charlaix , Matteo Ciccotti

1 Handbook of Nanophysics

Print publication date:  September  2010
Online publication date:  September  2010

Print ISBN: 9781420075403
eBook ISBN: 9781420075410
Adobe ISBN:


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As the size of systems decreases, surface effects become increasingly important. Capillary condensation, which results from the effect of surfaces on the phase diagram of a fluid, is an ubiquitous phenomenon at the nanoscale, occurring in all confined geometries, divided media, cracks, or contacts between surfaces (Bowden and Tabor 1950). The very large capillary forces induced by highly curved menisci have strong effect on the mechanical properties of contacts. The impact of capillary forces in micro/ nano electromechanical systems (MEMS & NEMS) is huge and oft en prevents the function of small-scale active systems under ambient condition or causes damage during the fabrication process.

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