For effective utilization of the residues, calcium sulfate whiskers were prepared from semi-dry desulfurization residues by hydrothermal synthesis reactions. Aiming at collecting the products with a long length and large aspect ratio, the additives, including sodium oleate, sodium dodecyl benzene sulfonate (SDBS), and sodium citrate, were added to control the growth of the crystal. Compared with no additives, whiskers with relatively a longer length and larger aspect ratio could be obtained in the presence of sodium oleate or SDBS. The sodium citrate made the whiskers thicker and shorter. Then, the effects of the additives on crystal growth and the morphology of the hydrothermal products were investigated with the aid of X-ray diffraction (XRD) patterns and molecular dynamics simulations. According to the results of XRD, the diffraction intensity of the crystal face (400) increased under the influence of sodium oleate, promoting crystal growth along the c-axis. The molecular structures of the corresponding faces were built based on the strong peaks shown in the XRD patterns. The atomic distribution on the computed crystal faces was presented. The interaction energies on different faces were calculated to illustrate the different adsorption configurations of the additives. Among the calculated faces, the interaction energies on (400) were both most negative for sodium oleate and SDBS. Therefore, sodium oleate and SDBS preferred to adsorb on (400). As a result, the growth of (400) was thus inhibited and the crystal grew along the c-axis. Compared with sodium oleate and SDBS, the lowest adsorption energy of sodium citrate on the face (310) indicated that sodium citrate has no positive effect on the directional growth of the crystal parallel to c-axis. The molecular simulation results were virtually identical to the crystal faces analysis results.
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