Journal of Surfactants and Detergents

, Volume 20, Issue 6, pp 1351–1358 | Cite as

The Nucleation and Growth of Succinic Acid in the Presence of Surfactants

  • Qiushuo YuEmail author
  • Xiaorui Li
  • Xiaoyan Qiao
  • Min Qi
Original Article


Impurities may have a marked effect on crystal nucleation and growth. To further understand the role of impurities, the crystallization (solubility, nucleation, growth) of succinic acid in water in the presence of surfactants such as polyethylene glycol sorbitan monooleate (Tween 80), cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB) and sodium dodecylbenzenesulfonate (SDBS) was investigated experimentally. The presence of CTAB, SDBS or Tween 80 had little influence on succinic acid solubility but did slow crystallization kinetics. The surfactant monomer in solution, not micelles, proved to play the primary role affecting nucleation. The nucleation inhibition by surfactant was analyzed on the base of a two-step nucleation process: (1) the inhibition on the formation and growth of succinic acid nanodroplets and (2) the influence on succinic acid single nucleus (SASN) in secondary nucleation. SASN may play important role in secondary nucleation, although further work is necessary to conform this. The length of the surfactant hydrocarbon chain was found to affect crystal habit development.


Solubility Nucleation Crystal growth Surfactant 



The authors are grateful to the National Science Foundation (NSFC. 21106110, 21536009), Natural Science Foundation of Shaanxi Province, People's Republic of China (2013JQ2020) for their financial assistance in this project.


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Copyright information

© AOCS 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Qiushuo Yu
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Xiaorui Li
    • 1
  • Xiaoyan Qiao
    • 1
  • Min Qi
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Chemical EngineeringNorthwest UniversityXi’anPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Chemical Engineering Research Center of the Ministry of Education for Advanced Use Technology of Shanbei EnergyXi’anPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Shaanxi Research Center of Engineering Technology for Clean Coal ConversionXi’anPeople’s Republic of China

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