A novel surface induced phase transition in normal alkane fluids

  • J. C. Earnshaw
  • C. J. Hughes
Conference paper
Part of the Progress in Colloid & Polymer Science book series (PROGCOLLOID, volume 93)


Light scattering from thermally excited capillary waves has been used to study normal liquid alkanes (15 to 18 carbon atoms in length) as a function of temperature. In all cases the frequency and damping of the surface waves exhibit well-defined discontinuities at a temperature near, but distinct from the melting point. Above that temperature the dat behave as expected for a clean liquid surface; below it they are consistent with predictions for fluid having a structured surface layer through which the surface excess viscoelastic modulus is negative in magnitude. The phenomena suggest the occurrence of a surface-induced phase transition, in which the conformational degrees of freedom of molecules close to the surface are inhibited.

Key words

Surface phase transition alkane capillary waves light scattering 


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Copyright information

© Dr. Dietrich Steinkopff Verlag GmbH & Co. KG 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. C. Earnshaw
    • 1
  • C. J. Hughes
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Pure and Applied PhysicsThe Queen’s University of BelfastBelfastNorthern Ireland

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