In materials science, liquefaction is a process that generates a liquid from a solid or a gas or that generates a non-liquid phase which behaves in accordance with fluid dynamics. It occurs both naturally and artificially. As an example of the latter, a "major commercial application of liquefaction is the liquefaction of air to allow separation of the constituents, such as oxygen, nitrogen, and the noble gases." Another is the conversion of solid coal into a liquid form usable as a substitute for liquid fuels.
In geology, soil liquefaction refers to the process by which water-saturated, unconsolidated sediments are transformed into a substance that acts like a liquid, often in an earthquake. Soil liquefaction was blamed for building collapses in the city of Palu, Indonesia in October 2018.
Physics and chemistry
In physics and chemistry, the phase transitions from solid and gas to liquid (melting and condensation, respectively) may be referred to as liquefaction. The melting point (sometimes called liquefaction point) is the temperature and pressure at which a solid becomes a liquid. In commercial and industrial situations, the process of condensing a gas to liquid is sometimes referred to as liquefaction of gases.
In kitchen or laboratory settings, solids may be chopped into smaller parts sometimes in combination with a liquid, for example in food preparation or laboratory use. This may be done with a blender, or liquidiser in British English.
In biology, liquefaction often involves organic tissue turning into a more liquid-like state. For example, liquefactive necrosis in pathology, or liquefaction as a parameter in semen analysis.
- Some authors contend that there is a distinction between liquefaction and liquification (which is more commony considered a misspelling), with the latter term applying only to processes involving heat. Knox, Ray; Stewart, David (1995). "3. Recognizing Seismic Landforms". The New Madrid Fault Finders Guide. Marble Hill, MO: Gutenberg-Richter Publications. p. 36. ISBN 978-0-934426-42-8. LCCN 91-91374.
- "Pharmaceutical Processes: Processes of Liquefaction". The Pharmaceutical Era. No. 21. 20 April 1899. p. 503.
[by] a process of liquefaction is meant any process the effect of which is to cause a solid or gaseous body to assume or pass into the liquid state.
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