Stability constants for silicate adsorbed to ferrihydrite

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Intrinsic surface acidity constants (K(a1)intr, K(a2)intr) and surface complexation constant for adsorption of orthosilicate onto synthetic ferrihydrite (K(Si) for the complex = FeOSi(OH)3) have been determined from acid/base titrations in 0.001-0.1 m NaClO4 electrolytes and silicate adsorption experiments in 0.01 m NaNO3 electrolyte (pH 3-6). The surface equilibrium constants were calculated according to the two-layer model by Dzombak & Morel (1990). Near equilibrium between protons/hydroxyls in solution and the ferrihydrite surface was obtained within minutes while equilibration with silicate required days-weeks, both reactions probably being diffusion controlled. Applying the values for specific surface area and site densities for ferrihydrite used by Dzombak & Morel (1990) (600 m2 g-1, 3.4 mumole m-2) the constants pK(al)intr 6.93 +/- 0.12, pK(a2)intr = 8.72 +/- 0.17 and log K(Si) = 3.62 were calculated by using the FITEQL optimization routine. Use of the specific surface area actually measured (269 m2 g-1) gave a poorer fit of the experimental data. Due to the slow adsorption of silicate and hence long shaking times, changes in the surface characteristics of the ferrihydrite seem to take place, probably a decrease in the concentration of surface sites. Adsorption isotherms calculated using the derived equilibrium constants showed that approximately twice the amount of silicate was adsorbed at pH 5 compared with pH 3. Infrared spectroscopy of silica adsorbed to ferrihydrite showed Si-O stretching absorption maxima in the range 940-960 cm- 1. The shift of the absorption maximum to higher wavenumbers with increasing amount of silicate adsorbed is probably due to an increase in the frequency of Si-O-Si bonds between orthosilicate adsorbed at adjacent sites. Small amounts of goethite were identified in the adsorption products.
Original languageEnglish
JournalClay Minerals
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)341-350
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 1994

ID: 8028971