Polymer Science Faculty Research


The Effect of a Solid Surface on the Segregation and Melting of Salt Hydrates

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 10-1-2014


Considering the importance of salt and water on earth, the crystallization of salt hydrates next to solid surfaces has important implications in physical and biological sciences. Heterogeneous nucleation is driven by surface interactions, but our understanding of hydrate formation near surfaces is limited. Here, we have studied the hydrate formation of three commonly prevalent salts, MgCl2, CaCl2, and NaCl, next to a sapphire substrate using surface sensitive infrared-visible sum frequency generation (SFG) spectroscopy. SFG spectroscopy can detect the crystallization and melting of salt hydrates at the interface by observing the changes in the intensity and the location of the cocrystallized water hydroxyl peaks (3200–3600 cm–1). The results indicate that the surface crystal structures of these three hydrates are similar to those in the bulk. For the NaCl solution, the brine solution is segregated next to the sapphire substrate after the formation of the ice phase. In contrast, the MgCl2 and CaCl2 surface hydrate crystals are interdispersed with nanometer-size ice crystals. The nanosize ice crystals melt at much lower temperatures than bulk ice crystals. For NaCl and MgCl2 solution, the NaCl hydrates prefer to crystallize next to the sapphire substrate instead of the ice crystals and MgCl2 hydrates.

Publication Title

Jounral of The American Chemical Society





First Page


Last Page