- Influence of Surfactants on Sodium Chloride Crystallization in Confinement
- Volume | Issue number
- 33 | 17
- Pages (from-to)
- Number of pages
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Van der Waals-Zeeman Institute (WZI)
Institute of Physics (IoP)
We study the influence of different surfactants on NaCl crystallization during evaporation of aqueous salt solutions. We found that at concentrations of sodium chloride close to saturation, only the cationic surfactant CTAB and the nonionic surfactant Tween 80 remain stable. For the nonionic surfactant, the high concentration of salt does not significantly change either the critical micellar concentration (CMC) or the surface tension at the CMC; for the cationic surfactant, the CMC is reduced by roughly 2 orders of magnitude upon adding the salt. The presence of both types of surfactants in the salt solution delays the crystallization of sodium chloride with evaporation. This, in turn, leads to high supersaturation which induces the rapid precipitation of a hopper crystal in the bulk. The crystallization inhibitor role of these surfactants is shown to be mainly due to the passivation of nucleation sites at both liquid/air and solid/liquid interfaces rather than a change in the evaporation rate which is found not to be affected by the presence of the surfactants. The adsorption of surfactants at the liquid/air interface prevents the crystallization at this location which is generally the place where the precipitation of sodium chloride is observed. Moreover, sum frequency generation spectroscopy measurements show that the surfactants are also present at the solid/liquid interface. The incorporation of the surfactants into the salt crystals is investigated using a novel, but simple, method based on surface tension measurements. Our results show that the nonionic surfactant Tween 80 is incorporated in the NaCl crystals but the cationic surfactant CTAB is not. Taken together, these results therefore allow us to establish the effect of the presence of surfactants on sodium chloride crystallization.
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