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Cryobiology. 1996 Apr;33(2):205-16.

Crystallization of Ice in Aqueous Solutions of Glycerol and Dimethyl Sulfoxide. 1. A Comparison of Mechanisms

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Department of Chemistry, Monash University, Wellington Road, Clayton, Victoria, 3168, Australia


The crystallization of ice from aqueous solutions of glycerol and dimethyl sulfoxide (Me2SO) has been studied using differential scanning calorimetry. In particular, the ice crystallization behavior of glycerol and Me2SO solutions containing approximately the same mole percent solute concentration (i.e., approximately 16 mol%) has been compared. These solutions (45 w/w% Me2SO (15.9 mol%) and 50 w/w% glycerol (16.4 mol%)) were shown to exhibit markedly different ice crystallization properties. For example, the peak homogeneous nucleation temperature of the Me2SO solution was observed to be 3°C above Tg, whereas the peak homogeneous nucleation temperature of the glycerol solution was shown to be 20°C above Tg. Further, the 50 w/w% glycerol solution was shown to devitrify at temperatures close to those of the peak nucleation rate, whereas the Me2SO solution was found to devitrify at temperatures much higher than the peak nucleation temperature. This, along with evidence from emulsion-based calorimetry experiments, indicates that the nucleation leading to devitrification in 45 w/w% Me2SO solutions is largely heterogeneous in nature.


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