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Nucleation kinetics of the potassium sulfate-water system



Secondary nucleation in the potassium sulfate-water system occurs by micro-attrition processes over the entire 1.3-26 μ size range of this study. Experimental nucleation rates were correlated with power-law kinetics expressions in terms of supersaturation, the fourth moment of the parent seed-crystal distribution, and stirring rate. Such kinetics expressions are similar to those used to correlate MSMPR data; however, the secondary nucleation rates of this paper are two orders of magnitude greater than those reported in previous MSMPR studies of the same system. An upper bound on growth rate of these nuclei was calculated based on a population balance analysis; maximum growth rates of these nuclei was markedly size-dependent in the 1.3-26 micron size range of measurement, decreasing with decreasing size. The apparent descrepancy between these nucleation rates and MSMPR values can be explained by nuclei washout during the low growth rate period. Anomalous MSMPR kinetics (low or even negative supersaturation power-law dependence) can be explained by this growth phenomenon.

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