A study of primary nucleation of calcium oxalate monohydrate: I-effect of supersaturation

H. El-Shall, Jin Hwan Jeon, E. A. Abdel-Aal, S. Khan, L. Gower, Y. Rabinovich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


There are various organic and inorganic constituents in kidney stones. Among them, calcium oxalate monohydrate (COM) is the primary inorganic constituent of kidney stones. However, the mechanisms of formation of kidney stones are not well understood. In this regard, a basic study is carried out for better understanding of nucleation, crystal growth and/or aggregation of formed COM crystals. The primary nucleation of calcium oxalate monohydrate is studied at the laboratory scale using turbidity measurements. Calcium chloride and potassium oxalate solutions are mixed and then added to a Turbidimeter tube for continuous recording of turbidity. Induction time (time to induce formation of detectable crystals) is estimated from time-turbidity graphs. The effect of some urinary species, such as oxalate and calcium, on nucleation and crystallization characteristics of COM is determined by particle size distribution analysis, measuring weight of crystals and calculation of relative supersaturation. The classical nucleation theory is applied at high supersaturation ratios (SR) ranging from 1.6 to 2.2. The results indicate that nucleation rate increases with increasing supersaturation ratio from 0.81 × 10 28 nuclei/cm 3.sec at 1.6 SR, to 18.02 × 10 28 nuclei/cm 3.sec at 2.2 SR. On the other hand, free energy change and radius of critical nucleus are decreased as supersaturation ratio is increased. The nucleation rates are higher than those reported in literature. Such discrepancy is discussed on the bases of differences in experimental techniques.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)214-221
Number of pages8
JournalCrystal Research and Technology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Calcium oxalate monohydrate (com)
  • Crystallization
  • Induction time
  • Kidney stones
  • Primary nucleation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics


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