Ultrahigh resistance of hexagonal boron nitride to mineral scale formation


Formation of mineral scale on a material surface has profound impact on a wide range of natural processes as well as industrial applications. However, how specific material surface characteristics affect the mineral-surface interactions and subsequent mineral scale formation is not well understood. Here we report the superior resistance of hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) to mineral scale formation compared to not only common metal and polymer surfaces but also the highly scaling-resistant graphene, making hBN possibly the most scaling resistant material reported to date. Experimental and simulation results reveal that this ultrahigh scaling-resistance is attributed to the combination of hBN’s atomically-smooth surface, in-plane atomic energy corrugation due to the polar boron-nitrogen bond, and the close match between its interatomic spacing and the size of water molecules. The latter two properties lead to strong polar interactions with water and hence the formation of a dense hydration layer, which strongly hinders the approach of mineral ions and crystals, decreasing both surface heterogeneous nucleation and crystal attachment.

Journal article

Zuo, Kuichang, Zhang, Xiang, Huang, Xiaochuan, et al.. "Ultrahigh resistance of hexagonal boron nitride to mineral scale formation." Nature Communications, 13, (2022) Springer Nature: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-022-32193-4.

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