The structure of a supersaturated solution: A neutron scattering study of aqueous urea

R. C. Burton, E. S. Ferrari, R. J. Davey, J. Hopwood, M. J. Quayle, J. L. Finney, D. T. Bowron

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Abstract

In this study a combination of neutron diffraction measurements and empirical potential structure refinement (EPSR) was used to investigate the time-averaged structure of a 0.30 mol fraction solution of urea in water at both 25 and 35 °C. These two temperatures were chosen in order to compare the structure of an undersaturated solution at 35 °C with that of a supersaturated solution at 25 °C. The results indicate that in moving into the supersaturated state the solutions show a significant and unexpected change in the self-aggregation of urea molecules. Urea-urea interactions present in the undersaturated solution become suppressed in the supersaturated region, in favor of interactions between urea and water so that overall the urea becomes more hydrated. Such a change may be viewed as a response of the system to the imposed supersaturation and a factor playing an important role in the observed metastability of the solutions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1559-1565
Number of pages7
JournalCrystal Growth and Design
Volume8
Issue number5
Early online date16 Apr 2008
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2008
Externally publishedYes

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Burton, R. C., Ferrari, E. S., Davey, R. J., Hopwood, J., Quayle, M. J., Finney, J. L., & Bowron, D. T. (2008). The structure of a supersaturated solution: A neutron scattering study of aqueous urea. Crystal Growth and Design, 8(5), 1559-1565. https://doi.org/10.1021/cg700829r