Letter | Published:

Adsorption of Water Vapour in High-Vacuum Apparatus

Nature volume 160, page 57 (12 July 1947) | Download Citation



The measurement of water-vapour pressures in a glass high-vacuum apparatus is susceptible to considerable errors through adsorption, particularly at high water-vapour pressures and low temperatures. This adsorption can be nearly eliminated by the use of a hydrophobic surface, and a simple method of coating the apparatus has been suggested to us by Dr. A. E. Alexander. We find that if the glass surface is treated with a 0·05 per cent solution of ‘Cetavlon’, C16H33N+Me3Br, in water, a monolayer is adsorbed giving an external surface equivalent to a hydrocarbon; excess reagent is removed by washing with water. The adsorbed layer is not affected by high vacua, and allows quantitative measurement of pressures of water vapour to be made accurately in accordance with Boyle's law.

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  1. Department of Physical Chemistry, University of Cambridge. May 31.

    • R. G. W. NORRISH
    •  & K. E. RUSSELL


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