Crystallization is commonly used in a separation and purification process in the production of a wide range of materials in various industries. In industry, crystallization usually starts with heterogeneous nucleation on a foreign surface. The complicated mechanism of heterogeneous nucleation is not well understood; however, we hypothesize that there might be a possible correlation between binding affinity to a surface and enhancement of nucleation. Recent studies show that amorphous polymers can be used to control crystallization, selectively produce pharmaceutical polymorphs, and discover novel pharmaceutical polymorphs. To investigate the possible correlation between the binding affinity of one molecule to key binding sites (local binding) and heterogeneous nucleation activity as well as the possibility of using this binding affinity to help guide the selection of polymers that promote heterogeneous nucleation, we computed the free energy of binding of aspirin to four nonporous cross-linked polymers in an ethanol-water 38 v% mixture. These cross-linked polymers are poly(4-acryloylmorpholine) (PAM), poly(2-carboxyethyl acrylate) (PCEA), poly(4-hydroxylbutyl acrylate) (PHBA), and polystyrene (PS); all of them were cross-linked with divinylbenzene (DVB). These systems were used because their heterogeneous nucleation activities are available in literature, and the ranking is PAM > PCEA > PHBA ≈ PS. We generated three independent surfaces for each polymer and computed the free energy of binding of aspirin to the best binding site that we found on each surface. The average free energies of binding to the best sites of PAM, PCEA, PHBA, and PS are -20.4 ± 1.0, -16.7 ± 1.0, -14.4 ± 1.1, and -13.6 ± 1.1 kcal/mol, respectively. We found that the trend of the magnitudes of the average free energies of binding to the best sites is PAM > PCEA > PHBA ≈ PS. This trend is very similar to that of heterogeneous nucleation activity. Our results suggest the importance of the free energy of binding to key sites (local binding) and the possibility of using this quantity to help guide the selection of polymers that promote heterogeneous nucleation.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||15|
|State||Published - Oct 18 2011|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Surfaces and Interfaces