Nucleation and growth kinetics of sodium chloride crystallization from water and deuterium oxide

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Despite the ubiquity of the crystallization of sodium chloride (NaCl) throughout history, few detailed, well-controlled quantitative studies of the kinetics of NaCl crystallization have been published. Taking advantage of recent advances in technology such as image analysis for crystallite counting and ‘high-throughput’ techniques for characterizing the highly stochastic nucleation process, we report on a detailed examination of the primary and secondary nucleation kinetics of NaCl, crystallized from solution, in water (H 2O) and in the isotopologue D 2O. We show that crystallization conditions, especially sample agitation, have a very significant effect on crystallization kinetics. We also critically evaluate the workflow employed and the associated nucleation/growth models used to interpret its results, comparing outcomes from NaCl with those from organic crystal systems with which the workflow was originally developed and demonstrated. For primary nucleation, some key assumptions of the workflow and data interpretation are called into question for the NaCl system. Even so, it can still provide direct measurements of secondary nucleation and crystal growth from crystal counting and sizing, providing valuable characterization under consistent controlled conditions to enhance and ‘bring up to date’ the literature on the crystallization of this ubiquitous system.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1388
Number of pages28
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 18 Sept 2023


  • sodium chloride
  • water
  • deuterium oxide
  • primary nucleation
  • secondary nucleation
  • growth
  • agitation


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