Homogeneous nucleation of particles from the vapor phase in thermal plasma synthesis

Steven L Girshick, C. P. Chiu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Scopus citations


Particle nucleation and growth are simulated for iron vapor in a thermal plasma reactor with an assumed one-dimensional flow field and decoupled chemistry and aerosol dynamics. Including both evaporation and coagulation terms in the set of cluster-balance rate equations, a sharply defined homogeneous nucleation event is calculated. Following nucleation the vapor phase is rapidly depleted by condensation, and thereafter particle growth occurs purely by Browntan coagulation. The size and number of nucleated particles are found to be affected strongly by the cooling rate and by the initial monomer concentration. An explanation is presented in terms of the response time of the aerosol to changing thermodynamic conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)355-369
Number of pages15
JournalPlasma Chemistry and Plasma Processing
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1989


  • Plasma synthesis
  • homogeneous nucleation
  • ultrafine powders


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