Limits to Crystallization Pressure

Lei Li, Felix Kohler, Joanna Dziadkowiec, Anja Røyne, Rosa M. Espinosa Marzal, Fernando Bresme, Espen Jettestuen, Dag Kristian Dysthe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Crystallization pressure drives deformation and damage in monuments, buildings, and the Earth's crust. Even though the phenomenon has been known for 170 years, there is no agreement between theoretical calculations of the maximum attainable pressure and experimentally measured pressures. We have therefore developed a novel experimental technique to image the nanoconfined crystallization process while controlling the pressure and applied it to calcite. The results show that displacement by crystallization pressure is arrested at pressures well below the thermodynamic limit. We use existing molecular dynamics simulations and atomic force microscopy data to construct a robust model of the disjoining pressure in this system and thereby calculate the absolute distance between the surfaces. On the basis of the high-resolution experiments and modeling, we formulate a novel mechanism for the transition between damage and adhesion by crystallization that may find application in Earth and materials sciences and in conservation of cultural heritage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11265-11273
Number of pages9
Issue number37
StatePublished - Sep 20 2022
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Spectroscopy
  • General Materials Science
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Electrochemistry


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