Additives are used to control nucleation in many natural and industrial environments. However, the mechanisms by which additives inhibit or accelerate solute precipitate nucleation are not well understood. We propose an equation that predicts changes in nucleation barriers based on the adsorption properties and concentrations of trace additives. The equation shows that nucleant efficacy depends on the product of an adsorption equilibrium constant and the reduction in interfacial tension. Moreover, the two factors that determine the potency of additives are related to each other, suggesting that assays of just one property might facilitate additive design. We test the design equation for a Potts lattice gas model with surfactant-like additives in addition to solutes and solvents.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry