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Crystals 2017, 7(2), 36; doi:10.3390/cryst7020036

Reversed Crystal Growth of Calcite in Naturally Occurring Travertine Crust

1
EaStCHEM, School of Chemistry, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, Fife KY16 9ST, UK
2
CASP, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge, West Building, 181a Huntingdon Road, Cambridge CB3 0DF, UK
Current Address: Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge, Lensfield Road, Cambridge CB2 1EW, UK.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Helmut Cölfen and Monica Distaso
Received: 30 August 2016 / Revised: 19 January 2017 / Accepted: 22 January 2017 / Published: 28 January 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mesocrystals and Hierarchical Structures)
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Abstract

A microstructural investigation by electron microscopy on a travertine specimen collected from Munigou National Park, Sichuan Province, China revealed evidence of a non-classical reversed crystal growth route previously only discovered in synthetic materials. Examination of the travertine specimen suggests that the presence of organic matter initiates the oriented aggregation of calcite nanocrystallites. Surface re-crystallisation of the aggregates leads to a single crystalline rhombohedral shell with a polycrystalline core. This core-shell structure carries a strong resemblance to synthetic calcite prepared in the presence of chitosan, where the growth of calcite was found to follow the so-called reversed crystal growth process. It is proposed that the similar roles of biomolecules in naturally occurring travertine and chitosan in the synthetic system are based on their isoelectric points and the polymerizable property of long chain chemical structures. This study is important so that the structural similarities between naturally occurring biominerals and biomimetic materials can be further understood. View Full-Text
Keywords: travertine; electron microscopy; crystal growth; calcite; minerals; biological macromolecules travertine; electron microscopy; crystal growth; calcite; minerals; biological macromolecules
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Greer, H.F.; Zhou, W.; Guo, L. Reversed Crystal Growth of Calcite in Naturally Occurring Travertine Crust. Crystals 2017, 7, 36.

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