Unveiling the dynamics of phase-changing, metastable, “noisy” liquids

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Kasper Juel Petersen


Ph.D. Candidate


University of Oxford


DKK 1,000,000




Visiting Fellowships at University of Oxford


Boiling and cavitation are phase-change processes responsible for transforming liquids into vapor bubbles. A "metastable" phase-changing liquid can remain in its liquid state despite being heated beyond its boiling point. Thermal fluctuations in energy provoke a liquid out of metastability. In this project, a mathematical model will be developed and used to predict the duration of metastability.


Liquid-vapor phase change is central to numerous industrial, natural, and engineered processes; from energy conversion in electrical power plants to cavitation leveraged in medical therapies to destroy cancer tumours. Insight into metastability and its transition mechanisms could inform how to control it for more efficient energy transfer in for example heat exchangers.


"Order", or lack thereof, in groups of molecules in emerging liquid and vapor phases can be quantified by kinetic theory and correlated with levels of metastability. The project aims to develop kinetic equations of order, to be numerically solved on high-performance computers. Computed datasets will be analysed to characterise metastable behaviour at various temperatures and pressures.

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