Anisotropic surface chemistry of aspirin crystals

Jerry Y.Y. Heng, Alexander Bismarck, Adam F. Lee, Karen Wilson, Daryl R. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The wettability of the (001), (100), and (011) crystallographic facets of macroscopic aspirin crystals has been experimentally investigated using a sessile drop contact angle (θ) method. θ for a nonpolar liquid was very similar for all three facets, though significant θ differences were observed for three polar probe liquids. The observed hydrophobicity of the (001) and (100) facets is ascribed to a reduced hydrogen bonding potential at these surfaces, whilst the observed hydrophilicity of facet (011) may be attributed to presence of surface carboxylic functionalities as confirmed by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). The dispersive component of the surface free energy (γ) was similar for all three facets (35 ± 2 mJ/m). The total surface energy, γs varied between 46 and 60 mJ/m due to significant variations in the polar/acid-base components of γ for all facets. Surface polarity as determined by γ measurements and XPS data were in good agreement, linking the variations in wettability to the concentration of oxygen containing surface functional groups. In conclusion, the wettability and the surface energy of a crystalline organic solid, such as aspirin, was found to be anisotropic and facet dependant, and in this case, related to the presence of surface carboxylic functionalities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2134-2144
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Issue number8
Early online date19 Jan 2007
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2007


  • anisotropic
  • wetting
  • contact angles
  • surface chemistry
  • crystals
  • physicochemical properties


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