When a fluid that undergoes a vapor to liquid transition in the bulk is confined to a long cylindrical pore, the phase transition is shifted (mostly due to surface effects at the walls of the pore) and rounded (due to finite size effects). The nature of the phase coexistence at the transition depends on the length of the pore: for very long pores, the system is axially homogeneous at low temperatures. At the chemical potential where the transition takes place, fluctuations occur between vapor- and liquidlike states of the cylinder as a whole. At somewhat higher temperatures (but still far below bulk criticality), the system at phase coexistence is in an axially inhomogeneous multidomain state, where long cylindrical liquid- and vaporlike domains alternate. Using Monte Carlo simulations for the Ising/lattice gas model and the Asakura–Oosawa model of colloid-polymer mixtures, the transition between these two different scenarios is characterized. It is shown that the density distribution changes gradually from a double-peak structure to a triple-peak shape, and the correlation length in the axial direction (measuring the equilibrium domain length) becomes much smaller than the cylinder length. The (rounded) transition to the disordered phase of the fluid occurs when the axial correlation length has decreased to a value comparable to the cylinder diameter. It is also suggested that adsorption hysteresis vanishes when the transition from the simple domain state to the multidomain state of the cylindrical pore occurs. We predict that the difference between the pore critical temperature and the hysteresis critical temperature should increase logarithmically with the length of the pore.

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