Punin Ripening and the Classification of Solution-Mediated Recrystallization Mechanisms

Alexander G. Shtukenberg, Juan Manuel García-Ruiz, Bart Kahr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ripening (also called recrystallization) is a process that occurs commonly in nature and industry that shifts the size distribution of an ensemble of crystals toward a smaller number of larger crystals. Ostwald ripening is by far the best known recrystallization mechanism and sometimes is mistakenly considered as the only mechanism for shifting the crystal size distribution. Ostwald ripening accounts for recrystallization under thermodynamic control and is driven only by the well-known size dependence of solubility. There are, however, other recrystallization mechanisms that can be observed on laboratory timescales for crystals of any size under certain conditions. Internal stress dispersion is a thermodynamic ripening mechanism that depends not on surface energies but rather on crystal defects. In addition, there are two other mechanisms that are kinetic in nature. The most efficient is driven by the size dependence of growth and dissolution rates at low supersaturation. Finally, a mechanism proposed by Punin is driven by the difference between growth and dissolution rates due to crystal defects. All the four mechanisms can be at work simultaneously. The efficiency of ripening can be enhanced by temperature oscillations, but only the thermodynamic mechanisms can work at constant temperature. In this paper, we discuss the fundamentals of these four ripening mechanisms and revisit in detail Punin's mechanism because it is the least well articulated in the literature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1267-1277
Number of pages11
JournalCrystal Growth and Design
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 3 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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