Phase behavior of a fluid with competing attractive and repulsive interactions

2014-10-09T13:41:47Z (GMT) by Andrew Archer Nigel B. Wilding
Fluids in which the interparticle potential has a hard core, is attractive at moderate separations, and repulsive at large separations are known to exhibit unusal phase behavior, including stable inhomogeneous phases. Here we report a joint simulation and theoretical study of such a fluid, focusing on the relationship between the liquid-vapor transition line and any new phases. The phase diagram is studied as a function of the amplitude of the attraction for a certain fixed amplitude of the long ranged repulsion. We find that the effect of the repulsion is to substitute the liquid-vapor critical point and a portion of the associated liquid-vapor transition line, by two first-order transitions. One of these transitions separates the vapor from a fluid of spherical liquidlike clusters; the other separates the liquid from a fluid of spherical voids. At low temperature, the two transition lines intersect one another and a vapor-liquid transition line at a triple point. While most integral equation theories are unable to describe the new phase transitions, the Percus-Yevick approximation does succeed in capturing the vapor-cluster transition, as well as aspects of the structure of the cluster fluid, in reasonable agreement with the simulation results.