Metastability of supersaturated solution and nucleation

Noriaki Kubota*, Masanori Kobari, Izumi Hirasawa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


A certain time may elapse for the occurrence of a first nucleation after a solution is made supersaturated. Thus, the supersaturated solution looks as if it could be in a metastable state though in a limited time. Such metastability of a supersaturated solution has been evaluated (rather technically) by the magnitude of the metastable zone width (MSZW), i.e., the supercooling at which a first nucleation event is detected when supersaturation is increased by cooling, or the induction time, i.e., the time elapsed until a first nucleation event is detected at a constant temperature. The larger these values are, the higher themetastability is. Surprisingly, however, these two nucleation-related quantities are not clearly understood. There is still much confusion. This chapter provides an overview of recent understandings of the MSZW and induction time with focus on the problems of (1) stochastic and deterministic aspects, (2) time-dependent change of solution structure, (3) role of nucleation, and (4) relevance to the operation of an industrial batch crystallizer.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Organic Crystal Chemistry
Subtitle of host publicationComprehensive Reviews 2015
PublisherSpringer Japan
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9784431555551
ISBN (Print)9784431555544
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Aug 6


  • Crystallization
  • Induction time
  • Metastable zone width
  • Nucleation
  • Population balance model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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