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ATM305 Classical Nucleation Theory, 5 cr 
Code ATM305  Validity 01.01.2017 -
Name Classical Nucleation Theory  Abbreviation Classical Nucle 
Scope5 cr   
TypeAdvanced studies
  GradingGeneral scale 
    Can be taken more than onceno
Unit Master's Programme in Atmospheric Sciences 

Target group 

Master’s Programme in Atmospheric Sciences is responsible for the course.

Module where the course belongs to:

  • ATM300 Advanced Studies in Atmospheric Sciences
    Optional for:
    1. Study Track in Aerosol Physics

The course is available to students from other degree programmes.


Anytime during the MSc studies.

Every second  or third year depending on demand (last time in Period III Spring 2015) IV period alternating with ATM311 SIMULATIONS OF FORMATION OF MOLECULAR CLUSTERS

Learning outcomes 
  • You will learn how to apply central thermodynamic principles to describe liquid droplet formation (gas-liquid nucleation)
  • You will understand the kinetic process forming clusters and birth-death equations as a model of these processes
  • You will learn the approximations used in classical nucleation theory and how  they restrict the applicability of the theory
  • You will learn to predict critical cluster sizes and nucleation rates in homogenous one- an multicomponent cases, understand how to use nucleation theorem as an data-analysis tool, and the limitations of the theorem
Completion methods 

Weekly exercises and a final exam.


Courses Fundamentals of thermophysics (Termofysiikan perusteet) and Thermodynamic potentials (Termodynaamiset potentiaalit) or equivalent knowledge, calculus, partial differentials, eigenvector of a matrix, converting a matrix to another coordinate system

Recommended optional studies 

ATM311 Simulations of Formation of Molecular Clusters

  • ERecap of fundamentals of thermodynamics
  • Derivation of conditions for phase equilibrium  based on thermodynamic principles
  • Formation free energy for molecular cluster  (modeled as a liquid drop) forming  from gas, critical cluster size
  • Equilibrium cluster distribution and kinetics of cluster formation
  • Predictions nucleation rate, nucleation theorems as data-analysis tools
  • Optional: basic of heterogenous nucleation
Study materials and literature 

Hanna Vehkamäki: Classical Nucleation Theory in Multicomponent Systems, 196 pages, SpringerVerlag Berlin Heidelberg, 2006

Activities and teaching methods in support of learning 

Lectures, workshop -style exercise sessions

Assessment practices and criteria 

The grading follows Recommended code of conduct for fundamental courses in physics


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