Burton, R. C., Ferrari, E. S., Davey, R. J., Hopwood, Jeremy D., Quayle, M. J., Finney, J. L. and Bowron, D. T. (2008) The Structure of a Supersaturated Solution: A Neutron Scattering Study of Aqueous Urea. Crystal Growth and Design, 8 (5). pp. 1559-1565. ISSN 1528-7483

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.

Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email