Unraveling Molecular Mechanism on Dilute Surfactant Solution Controlled Ice Recrystallization

Qingrui Fan, Yurui Gao, Chongqin Zhu, Jie Liu, Lishan Zhao, Junqiang Mao, Shuwang Wu, Han Xue, Joseph S. Francisco, Xiao Cheng Zeng, Jianjun Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Ice recrystallization (IR) is ubiquitous, playing an important role in many areas of science, such as cryobiology, food science, and atmospheric physics. However, controllable ice recrystallization remains a challenging task largely due to an incomplete understanding of the physical mechanism associated with ice recrystallization. Herein, we explore the molecular mechanism underlying the controlling of ice recrystallization by using different small amphiphilic molecules (surfactants) through joint experimental measurements and molecular dynamics simulation. Our experiment shows that in nonionic/zwitterionic surfactant solutions, the mean size of the recrystallized ice grains increases monotonically with the concentration of surfactants, whereas in the ionic surfactant solutions, the mean size of the recrystallized ice grains tends to increase first and then decrease with increasing the concentration, yielding a peak typically at ∼5 μM. Further sequential ice affinity purification experiments and molecular dynamics simulations show that the surfactants actually do not bind to ice directly. Rather, the different spatial distributions of counter ions and molecular surfactants in the interfacial regions (ice-water interface and water-air interface) and bulk region can markedly affect the mean size of the recrystallized ice grain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1691-1698
Number of pages8
JournalLangmuir
Volume36
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 25 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry

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