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Introduction

Chapter
Part of the Springer Series on Atomic, Optical, and Plasma Physics book series (SSAOPP, volume 42)

Abstract

To consider phase states and phase transitions, we must look first to thermodynamic concepts. According to classical thermodynamics, the phase or aggregate state of an ensemble of interacting atoms or molecules is a uniform spatial distribution of atoms or molecules that is restricted by boundaries. A transition between two phases of a macroscopic system has a stepwise character and results from variation of thermodynamic parameters, typically (but not necessarily) the temperature. Most commonly, the variable controlling the phase and phase change is an intensive variable. A thermodynamic description of phase transitions has advantages and disadvantages. The advantage of this description is its universal character; it is suitable for many kinds of systems with different interactions between atoms or molecules. But for this reason, a thermodynamic description of aggregate states and phase transitions is formal and does not allow one to exhibit the nature of phenomena under consideration at a microscopic level.

Keywords

Potential Energy Surface Pairwise Interaction Aggregate State Thermodynamic Description Classical Particle 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2007

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