We develop a theory to account for variable coverage of trace additives that lower the interfacial free energy for nucleation. The free energy landscape is based on classical nucleation theory and a statistical mechanical model for Langmuir adsorption. Dynamics are modeled by diffusion-controlled attachment and detachment of solutes and adsorbing additives. We compare the mechanism and kinetics from a mean-field model, a projection of the dynamics and free energy surface onto nucleus size, and a full two-dimensional calculation using Kramers-Langer-Berezhkovskii-Szabo theory. The fluctuating coverage model predicts rates more accurately than mean-field models of the same process primarily because it more accurately estimates the potential of mean force along the size coordinate.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Materials Chemistry