Supercritical Fluids: Their Properties and Applications
Johanna Levelt Sengers
This introductory chapter is intended to acquaint the reader with the unusual properties of supercritical fluids, and with the ways these properties are exploited for a variety of applications in the chemical process industry. The presentation is closely tied to the program of this Advanced Summer Institute (ASI), and points to chapters to follow in various subject areas. The behavior of thermodynamic and transport properties near a critical point is described, with water as an example. The structure of the supercritical fluid is discussed. The unusual solvent properties of supercritical fluids are explained within the framework of binary fluid phase diagrams, including a solid solute. Tunable solvent properties and environmental compatibility make supercritical fluids desirable agents in the chemical process industry. This ASI will focus on their role as extractants of food and other products, as carriers in chromatography, and as media for chemical reactions and for materials processing; moreover, virtually all aspects of polymer processing may involve the use of supercritical solvents. In this chapter, the basic knowledge and terminology required for an understanding of the chapters to follow will be introduced at an elementary level. For more advanced treatments, see , .
Proceedings of NATO Advanced Study Institute (ASI) Kluwer, Dordrecht (Publisher)