Formation of BaSO4 fibres with morphological complexity in aqueous polymer solutions

Limin Qi, Helmut Cölfen, Markus Antonietti, Mei Li, Jeremy D. Hopwood, Alexandra J. Ashley, Stephen Mann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

167 Citations (Scopus)


BaSO4 fibres with morphological complexity were formed in aqueous solution with polyacrylate and partially monophosphonated poly(ethyleneoxide)-block-poly(methacrylic acid) additives by a simple precipitation reaction. For polyacrylate, formation of the fibrous deposits was strongly dependent on the level of supersaturation (S) and Ba2+:polymer molar ratio (R). At S = 60 to 80, and R = 3 to 14, highly anisotropic crystalline fibres consisting of bundles of BaSO4 nanofilaments were formed after several weeks, although the yield was low. The nanofilaments were also organized into cone-shaped aggregates at S = 80, and at lower R values these formed higher-order structures that consisted of multiple cone-on-cone assemblies with remarkable self-similarity. Increasing the supersaturation produced ovoid or cross-shaped dendritic particles for the range of molar ratios studied. In contrast, BaSO4 crystallisation in the presence of a partially phosphonated block copolymer gave a high yield of BaSO4 fibres up to 100 μm in length, and consisting of co-aligned bundles of 30 nm-diameter defect-free single-crystal nanofilaments with a uniform growth tip. A model for the defect-free growth of BaSO4 nanofilaments in aqueous polymer solutions based on amorphous precursor particles, vectorially directing forces and van der Waals attraction is proposed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3526-3532
Number of pages7
JournalChemistry - A European Journal
Issue number16
Early online date27 Jul 2001
Publication statusPublished - 17 Aug 2001
Externally publishedYes


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