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Triple point

Thermodynamic point where three matter phases exist / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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In thermodynamics, the triple point of a substance is the temperature and pressure at which the three phases (gas, liquid, and solid) of that substance coexist in thermodynamic equilibrium.[1] It is that temperature and pressure at which the sublimation, fusion, and vaporisation curves meet. For example, the triple point of mercury occurs at a temperature of −38.8 °C (−37.8 °F) and a pressure of 0.165 mPa.

Phase-diag2.svg
A typical phase diagram. The solid green line applies to most substances; the dashed green line gives the anomalous behavior of water

In addition to the triple point for solid, liquid, and gas phases, a triple point may involve more than one solid phase, for substances with multiple polymorphs. Helium-4 is unusual in that it has no sublimation/deposition curve and therefore no triple points where its solid phase meets its gas phase. Instead, it has a vapor-liquid-superfluid point, a solid-liquid-superfluid point, a solid-solid-liquid point, and a solid-solid-superfluid point. None of these should be confused with the Lambda Point, which is not any kind of triple point.

The triple point of water was used to define the kelvin, the base unit of thermodynamic temperature in the International System of Units (SI).[2] The value of the triple point of water was fixed by definition, rather than by measurement, but that changed with the 2019 redefinition of SI base units. The triple points of several substances are used to define points in the ITS-90 international temperature scale, ranging from the triple point of hydrogen (13.8033 K) to the triple point of water (273.16 K, 0.01 °C, or 32.018 °F).

The term "triple point" was coined in 1873 by James Thomson, brother of Lord Kelvin.[3]

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