Journal of the american oil chemists society vol:69 issue:9 pages:906-911
The morphology and kinetics of crystallization of tripalmitin have been examined in detail by optical microscopy. The alpha-crystallization process is characterized by a fast heterogeneous nucleation and spherulitic growth, even at low undercooling, resulting in intense birefringence and smooth spherulitic entities. Four different beta'-microstructures have been found-grainy, fibrous, feathery and lamellar. Around 47-degrees-C, a clear change from a grainy to a fibrous beta'-microstructure is observed. This transition seems to take place without a drastic change in nucleation or in crystal growth. At 50-degrees-C, both nucleation and crystal growth exhibit a clear discontinuity, indicating interference from beta-crystallization. Around 52-degrees-C, the beta'-form changes again from a fibrous to a more feathery microstructure; the transition is accompanied by a distinct decrease in crystal growth rate. The lamellar beta'-structure exhibits the highest stability and can be obtained only via an accelerated nucleation at low temperature, followed by further growth at elevated temperature near the melting temperature of the beta'-form. Determination of the beta-form on the basis of its microstructure is not always precise because the microstructure strongly depends on whether the beta-crystals are obtained from a transformation of a or beta', or whether beta-crystallization occurs directly from the melt. Clear confirmation of the polymorphic nature of the solid state can be obtained from melting point determination.