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The formation of nano-sized crystals of gadolinium carbonate via reaction crystallization was studied in a semi-batch crystallizer using gadolinium chloride and ammonium hydrogen carbonate as the reactants. The gadolinium carbonate crystals were formed by the aggregation of primary
particles sized about 5 nm. Thereby, the crystallization parameters acting directly on the aggregation of the primary particles, such as the reactant concentrations, non-stoichiometry of the reactants, solution pH, acoustic energy, and agitation speed, were mechanistically investigated. As
such, increasing the reactant concentrations enhanced the crystal size due to higher nucleation of the primary particles for the aggregation. Non-stoichiometric reactant concentrations resulted in a significant reduction of the crystal size, due to the adsorption of the excess species on the
primary particles. Similarly, the surface charge of the primary particles depended on the solution pH. Thus, the crystal size was reduced when the pH deviated from the neutral point. The acoustic cavitation of the ultrasound was much more effective than the turbulent fluid motion of the agitation
in inhibiting the primary particle aggregation. Thus, the crystal size was remarkably reduced, even at a low acoustic energy of 6 watts.
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