Maxwell equal-area rule

Maxwell equal-area rule

[′mak‚swel ¦ē·kwəl ′er·ē·ə ‚rül]
(thermodynamics)
At temperatures for which the theoretical isothermal of a substance, on a graph of pressure against volume, has a portion with positive slope (as occurs in a substance with liquid and gas phases obeying the van der Waals equation), a horizontal line drawn at the equilibrium vapor pressure and connecting two parts of the isothermal with negative slope has the property that the area between the horizontal and the part of the isothermal above it is equal to the area between the horizontal and the part of the isothermal below it.