Clausius–Clapeyron relation

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"Clapeyron equation" and "Clapeyron's equation" redirect here. For a state equation, see ideal gas law.

The Clausius–Clapeyron relation, named after Rudolf Clausius[1] and Benoît Paul Émile Clapeyron,[2] is a way of characterizing a discontinuous phase transition between two phases of matter of a single constituent. On a pressuretemperature (P–T) diagram, the line separating the two phases is known as the coexistence curve. The Clausius–Clapeyron relation gives the slope of the tangents to this curve. Mathematically,

\frac{\mathrm{d}P}{\mathrm{d}T} = \frac{L}{T\,\Delta v},

where \mathrm{d}P/\mathrm{d}T is the slope of the tangent to the coexistence curve at any point, L is the specific latent heat, T is the temperature, and \Delta v is the specific volume change of the phase transition.


A typical phase diagram. The dotted green line gives the anomalous behavior of water. The Clausius–Clapeyron relation can be used to find the relationship between pressure and temperature along phase boundaries.

Derivation from state postulate[edit]

Using the state postulate, take the specific entropy, s, for a homogeneous substance to be a function of specific volume v and temperature T.[3]:508

\mathrm{d} s = \left(\frac{\partial s}{\partial v}\right)_T \mathrm{d} v + \left(\frac{\partial s}{\partial T}\right)_v \mathrm{d} T.

During a phase change, the temperature is constant, so[3]:508

\mathrm{d} s = \left(\frac{\partial s}{\partial v}\right)_T \mathrm{d} v.

Using the appropriate Maxwell relation gives[3]:508

\mathrm{d} s = \left(\frac{\partial P}{\partial T}\right)_v \mathrm{d} v.

Since temperature and pressure are constant during a phase transition, the derivative of pressure with respect to temperature does not change as the specific volume varies.[4][5]:57, 62 & 671 Thus the partial derivative may be changed into a total derivative and be factored out when taking an integral from one phase to another,[3]:508

s_{\beta} - s_{\alpha} = \frac{\mathrm{d} P}{\mathrm{d} T} (v_{\beta} - v_{\alpha}),
\frac{d P}{d T} = \frac {s_{\beta} - s_{\alpha}}{v_{\beta} - v_{\alpha}} = \frac {\Delta s}{\Delta v}.

Here \Delta s\equiv s_{\beta}-s_{\alpha} and \Delta v\equiv v_{\beta}-v_{\alpha} are respectively the change in specific entropy and specific volume from the initial phase \alpha to the final phase \beta.

For a closed system undergoing an internally reversible process, the first law is

\mathrm{d} u = \delta q - \delta w = T\;\mathrm{d} s - P\;\mathrm{d} v.\,

Using the definition of specific enthalpy, h, and the fact that the temperature and pressure are constant, we have[3]:508

\mathrm{d} u + P \;\mathrm{d} v = d h = T\;\mathrm{d}s \Rightarrow \mathrm{d}s = \frac {\mathrm{d} h}{T} \Rightarrow \Delta s = \frac {\Delta h}{T}=\frac{L}{T}.

After substitution of this result into the derivative of the pressure, one finds[3]:508[6]

\frac{\mathrm{d} P}{\mathrm{d} T} = \frac {L}{T \Delta v}.

This last equation is the Clapeyron equation.

Derivation from Gibbs–Duhem relation[edit]

Suppose two phases, \alpha and \beta, are in contact and at equilibrium with each other. Then the chemical potentials are related by \mu_{\alpha} = \mu_{\beta}. Along the coexistence curve, we also have \mathrm{d}\mu_{\alpha} = \mathrm{d}\mu_{\beta}. We now use the Gibbs–Duhem relation \mathrm{d}\mu = M(-s\mathrm{d}T + v\mathrm{d}P), where s and v are, respectively, the specific entropy and specific volume and M is the molar mass, to obtain

-(s_{\beta}-s_{\alpha}) \mathrm{d}T + (v_{\beta}-v_{\alpha}) \mathrm{d}P = 0. \,

Hence, rearranging, we have

\frac{\mathrm{d}P}{\mathrm{d}T} = \frac{s_{\beta}-s_{\alpha}}{v_{\beta}-v_{\alpha}}.

From which the derivation continues as above.

Ideal gas approximation at low temperatures[edit]

When the transition is to a gas phase at temperatures much lower than the critical temperature, the specific volume of the gas phase v_{\mathrm{g}} greatly exceeds that of the condensed phase v_{\mathrm{c}}, and so one may approximate \Delta v =v_{\mathrm{g}}\left(1-\tfrac{v_{\mathrm{c}}}{v_{\mathrm{g}}}\right)\approx v_{\mathrm{g}}. Furthermore, at low pressures, the gas may be approximated by the ideal gas law, so that v_{\mathrm{g}} = R T / P, where R is the specific gas constant. Thus,[3]:509

\frac{\mathrm{d} P}{\mathrm{d} T} = \frac {P L}{T^2 R}.

This is the Clausius–Clapeyron equation, valid for low temperatures and pressures.[3]:509 In general, L varies along the coexistence curve as a function of temperature. However, if L is a constant, then

\frac {\mathrm{d} P}{P} = \frac {L}{R} \frac {\mathrm{d}T}{T^2},
\int_{P_1}^{P_2}\frac{\mathrm{d}P}{P} = \frac {L}{R} \int \frac {\mathrm{d} T}{T^2}
\left. \ln P\right|_{P=P_1}^{P_2} = -\frac{L}{R} \cdot \left.\frac{1}{T}\right|_{T=T_1}^{T_2} or[5]:672
\ln \frac {P_2}{P_1} = \frac {L}{R} \left ( \frac {1}{T_1} - \frac {1}{T_2} \right ).

Here (P_1,T_1) and (P_2,T_2) are two points along the coexistence curve. These last equations are useful because they relate equilibrium or saturation vapor pressure and temperature to the latent heat of the phase change, without requiring specific volume data. Note that in this last equation, the subscripts 1 and 2 label different locations on the PT coexistence curve, whereas in previous equations the subscripts \alpha and \beta label the phases on either side of the coexistence curve.


Chemistry and chemical engineering[edit]

For transitions between a gas and a condensed phase with the approximations described above, the expression may be rewritten as

\ln P = -\frac{L}{R}\left(\frac{1}{T}\right)+C.

For a liquid-gas transition, L is the specific latent heat (or specific enthalpy) of vaporization, whereas for a solid-gas transition, L is the specific latent heat of sublimation. If the latent heat is known, then knowledge of one point on the coexistence curve determines the rest of the curve. Conversely, the relationship between \ln P and 1/T is linear, and so linear regression is used to estimate the latent heat.

Meteorology and climatology[edit]

The Clausius–Clapeyron equation for water vapor in typical atmospheric conditions is

 \frac{\mathrm{d}e_s}{\mathrm{d}T} = \frac{L_v(T) e_s}{R_v T^2}


  •  e_s is saturation vapor pressure,
  • T is a temperature,
  •  L_v is the specific latent heat of evaporation,
  • R_v is water vapor gas constant.

The temperature dependence of the latent heat cannot be neglected in this application (see dew point). In this context, a very good approximation can usually be made using the August-Roche-Magnus formula (usually called the Magnus or Magnus-Tetens approximation, though this attribution is historically inaccurate[7]):

 e_s(T)= 6.1094 \exp \left( \frac{17.625T}{T+243.04} \right) [8][9]

 e_s(T) is the equilibrium or saturation vapor pressure in hPa as a function of temperature T on the Celsius scale. Since there is only a weak dependence on temperature of the denominator of the exponent, this equation shows that saturation water vapor pressure changes approximately exponentially with T.

In practical terms, this equation determines that the water-holding capacity of the atmosphere increases by about 7% for every 1°C rise in temperature.[10]


One of the uses of this equation is to determine if a phase transition will occur in a given situation. Consider the question of how much pressure is needed to melt ice at a temperature {\Delta T} below 0°C. Note that water is unusual in that its change in volume upon melting is negative. We can assume

 {\Delta P} = \frac{L}{T\,\Delta v} {\Delta T}

and substituting in

L = 3.34×105 J/kg (latent heat of fusion for water),
T = 273 K (absolute temperature), and
\Delta v = −9.05×10−5 m³/kg (change in specific volume from solid to liquid),

we obtain

\frac{\Delta P}{\Delta T} = −13.5 MPa/K.

To provide a rough example of how much pressure this is, to melt ice at −7 °C (the temperature many ice skating rinks are set at) would require balancing a small car (mass = 1000 kg[11]) on a thimble (area = 1 cm²).

Second derivative[edit]

While the Clausius–Clapeyron relation gives the slope of the coexistence curve, it does not provide any information about its curvature or second derivative. The second derivative of the coexistence curve of phases 1 and 2 is given by [12]

\frac{\mathrm{d}^2 P}{\mathrm{d} T^2} = \frac{1}{v_2 - v_1}
\left[\frac{c_{p2} - c_{p1}}{T} - 2(v_2\alpha_2 - v_1\alpha_1) \frac{\mathrm{d}P}{\mathrm{d}T} + (v_2\kappa_{T2} - v_1\kappa_{T1})\left(\frac{\mathrm{d}P}{\mathrm{d}T}\right)^2\right],

where subscripts 1 and 2 denote the different phases, c_p is the specific heat capacity at constant pressure, \alpha = (1/v)(\mathrm{d}v/\mathrm{d}T)_P is the thermal expansion coefficient, and \kappa_T = -(1/v)(\mathrm{d}v/\mathrm{d}P)_T is the isothermal compressibility.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Clausius, R. (1850). "Ueber die bewegende Kraft der Wärme und die Gesetze, welche sich daraus für die Wärmelehre selbst ableiten lassen" [On the motive power of heat and the laws which can be deduced therefrom regarding the theory of heat]. Annalen der Physik (in German) 155: 500–524. Bibcode:1850AnP...155..500C. doi:10.1002/andp.18501550403. 
  2. ^ Clapeyron, M. C. (1834). "Mémoire sur la puissance motrice de la chaleur". Journal de l'École polytechnique (in French) 23: 153–190. ark:/12148/bpt6k4336791/f157. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Wark, Kenneth (1988) [1966]. "Generalized Thermodynamic Relationships". Thermodynamics (5th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, Inc. ISBN 0-07-068286-0. 
  4. ^ Carl Rod Nave (2006). "PvT Surface for a Substance which Contracts Upon Freezing". HyperPhysics. Georgia State University. Retrieved 2007-10-16. 
  5. ^ a b Çengel, Yunus A.; Boles, Michael A. (1998) [1989]. Thermodynamics – An Engineering Approach. McGraw-Hill Series in Mechanical Engineering (3rd ed.). Boston, MA.: McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-07-011927-9. 
  6. ^ Salzman, William R. (2001-08-21). "Clapeyron and Clausius–Clapeyron Equations". Chemical Thermodynamics. University of Arizona. Archived from the original on 2007-07-07. Retrieved 2007-10-11. 
  7. ^ M. G. Lawrence, "The relationship between relative humidity and the dew point temperature in moist air: A simple conversion and applications", Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc., 86, 225-233, 2005
  8. ^ Alduchov, Oleg; Eskridge, Robert (1997-11-01), "Improved Magnus' Form Approximation of Saturation Vapor Pressure", NOAA  Missing or empty |title= (help) - Equation 25 provides these coefficients
  9. ^ Alduchov, Oleg; Eskridge, Robert (April 1996), "Improved Magnus' Form Approximation of Saturation Vapor Pressure", Journal of Applied Meteorology  Missing or empty |title= (help) - Equation 21 provides these coefficients
  10. ^ IPCC, Climate Change 2007: Working Group I: The Physical Science Basis, "FAQ 3.2 How is Precipitation Changing ?", URL
  11. ^ Zorina, Yana (2000). "Mass of a Car". The Physics Factbook. 
  12. ^ Krafcik, Matthew; Sánchez Velasco, Eduardo (2014). "Beyond Clausius–Clapeyron: Determining the second derivative of a first-order phase transition line". American Journal of Physics 82: 301–305. Bibcode:2014AmJPh..82..301K. doi:10.1119/1.4858403. 


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