The growth behavior and kinetics of the barite (001) surface in supersaturated BaSO4 solutions (supersaturation index (SI) = 1.1-4.1) at 30 °C were investigated using in situ atomic force microscopy (AFM). At the lowest supersaturation, the growth behavior was mainly the advancement of the initial step edges and filling in of the etch pits formed in the water before the BaSO4 solution was injected. For solutions with higher supersaturation, the growth behavior was characterized by the advance of the <uv0> and  half-layer steps with two different advance rates and the formation of growth spirals with a rhombic to bow-shaped form and sector-shaped two-dimensional (2D) nuclei. The advance rates of the initial steps and the two steps of 2D nuclei were proportional to the SI. In contrast, the advance rates of the parallel steps with extremely short step spacing on growth spirals were proportional to SI2, indicating that the lateral growth rates of growth spirals were directly proportional to the step separations. This dependence of the advance rate of every step on the growth spirals on the step separations predicts that the growth rates along the  direction of the growth spirals were proportional to SI2 for lower supersaturations and to SI for higher supersaturations. The nucleation and growth rates of the 2D nuclei increased sharply for higher supersaturations using exponential functions. Using these kinetic equations, we predicted a critical supersaturation (SI ≈ 4.3) at which the main growth mechanism of the (001) face would change from a spiral growth to a 2D nucleation growth mechanism: therefore, the morphology of bulk crystals would change.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology