, Volume 3, Issue 2-3, pp 227-235

Hydrothermal Synthesis of Metal Oxide Nanoparticles at Supercritical Conditions

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Abstract

Hydrothermal synthesis of CeO2 and AlO(OH) were conducted using a flow type apparatus over the range of temperature from 523 to 673 K at 30 MPa. Nanosize crystals were formed at supercritical conditions. The mechanism of nanoparticle formation at supercritical conditions was discussed based on the metal oxide solubility and kinetics of the hydrothermal synthesis reaction. The reaction rate of Ce(NO3)3 and Al(NO3)3 was evaluated using a flow type reactor. The Arrhenius plot of the first order rate constant fell on a straight line in the subcritical region, while it deviated from the straight line to the higher values above the critical point. The solubility of Ce(OH)3 and AlO(OH) was estimated by using a modified HKF model in a wide range of pH and temperature. In acidic conditions, where hydrothermal synthesis reaction is concerned, solubility gradually decreased with increasing temperature and then drastically dropped above the critical point. The trend of the solubility and the kinetics around the critical point could be explained by taking account of the dielectric constant effect on the reactions. There are two reasons why nanoparticle are formed at supercritical conditions. Larger particles are produced at subcritical conditions due to Ostwald ripening; that could not be observed in supercritical water because of the extremely low solubility. Second reason is the faster nucleation rate in supercritical water because of the lower solubility and the extremely fast reaction rate.