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Kinetics and Mechanism of Spontaneous Crystallization of Potassium Nitrate from Its Supersaturated Aqueous Potassium Nitrate from Its Supersaturated Aqueous Solutions

DOI: 10.4236/csta.2013.21003, PP. 16-27

Keywords: Potassium Nitrate, Aggregation, Crystallization, Solubility, Activation Energy, Crystal Growth, Intergrowth, Agglomerates

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Abstract:

Kinetics of spontaneous crystallization of potassium nitrate from its supersaturated aqueous solutions has been studied simultaneously by electrical conductance and optical transmittance methods. It was found that spontaneous crystallization of potassium nitrate was accompanied by aggregation of crystals. Growth of salt crystals was in the kinetic mode of the growth process, and was described by the equation of the first order regarding supersaturation of solution. The mechanism of aggregation and intergrowth of crystals during bulk crystallization via formation of nucleus-bridges between crystals found earlier for several salts was confirmed. Specific surface energy of potassium nitrate was evaluated on the basis of the above mechanism of aggregation and intergrowth of crystals. The established value of the specific surface energy was reasonable and agreed satisfactorily with the available literature data. Examination of crystal deposit after completion of crystallization allowed detecting crystal agglomerates of freakish and irregular forms, which may be considered as the direct confirmation of the above mechanism of intergrowth of crystals. Kinetics of crystallization, aggregation and size distribution of salt crystals after completion of crystallization have been satisfactory described by the earlier proposed model of the crystallization process. An excellent agreement was established between the experimental data on potassium nitrate solubility in aqueous solutions found in the present work and those available in the literature.

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