Studies of the Surface Reactivity of Metal Oxyhydroxides and Sulfides with Relevance to Environmental Chemistry
|Strongin, Daniel R.
|With the benefits of an ever increasing advance of industrialization around the globe come formidable environmental CO2 . Three environmental problems that have relevance to the research described in this thesis are the 1) buildup of atmospheric CO2 gas through the burning of fossil fuels, 2) eutrophication of aquatic systems, and 3) the acidification of environments from acid mine drainage (AMD) resulting from coal-mining activities. In particular research is presented in this thesis that investigated the surface chemistry of CO2 and phosphate (PO43-) on a suite of environmentally relevant iron oxyhydroxide materials and the chemistry of phospholipid molecules on environmentally relevant iron sulfide surfaces to suppress AMD. To develop a microscopic understanding of the surface chemistry of the different systems, an array of experimental and computational techniques were used in the research. Techniques included X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, atomic adsorption, X-ray diffraction, scanning transmission microscopy with electron dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (STEM/EDS), ion chromatography (IC), and attenuated total reflectance Fourier transform Infrared (ATR-FTIR). Results from the latter technique were interpreted with the aid of density function theory (DFT) calculations. Iron oxyhydroxides, which consisted of ferrihydrite (FeOOH), goethite α-FeOOH), ferrimagnetic ferrihydrite (FerriFh), and aluminum-doped iron oxyhydroxide (content from 0-100 mol%) were synthesized and studied before and after exposure to gaseous CO2 , CO32-, and PO43- species. FeOOH and mixed Al/Fe oxyhydroxide surfaces showed high affinities for the formation of carbonate and bicarbonate species upon exposure to gaseous CO2 . Within the Al/Fe oxyhydroxide circumstance, a low Al level of incorporation in the iron oxyhydroxide structure caused a slight increase in surface area and increase in the amount of oxyanion (e.g., CO32- or PO43-) adsorption up to an Al level of 30 mol%. Significant changes were observed in the binding geometry of the adsorbed complexes on the Al/Fe mineral compared to single phase α-FeOOH, AlOOH, and FeOOH surfaces. ATR-FTIR results combined with vibrational frequency (DFT) calculations suggested the formation of multiple phosphate surface complexes via a variety of configurations such as inner-sphere/outer-sphere bidentate, monodentate depending on the solution pH and the Al mol% substituted into the Fe-oxyhydroxide. Studies investigated the adsorption of CO2 on FerriFh and compared those results to CO2 on ferrihydrite. The CO2 pressures used in these particular studies ranged from 1 to 57.8 bars. It is found that citrate bound species, resulting from the synthesis conditions used to make FerriFh, blocked surface sites for the formation of carbonate and bicarbonate species on the magnetic FerriFh and ferrihydrite oxyhydroxide minerals upon CO2 (gas) exposure. A bicarbonate or bent-CO2 like species (~1220 cm-1) formed at lower CO2 pressures (≤ 3.5 bars) but was absent at the higher pressures. Additional studies investigated the adsorption of various phospholipid molecules on pyrite, and iron sulfide with FeS2 stoichiometry. These studies were focused on suppressing the oxidative decomposition of pyrite to sulfuric acid, the root cause of AMD. Batch and column studies were employed to investigate the ability of phospholipids to reduce AMD over an extended period of time (up to 3 years). In studies that used actual coal mining refuse, which contained significant amount of pyrite, it was shown that the rate of acid production from pyrite decomposition could be reduced by as much as 70% due to the presence of surface bound phospholipid. Assembly of the phospholipid into a bilayer motif on the sulfide surface was hypothesized to form a hydrophobic barrier that kept dissolved O2 and bacteria from facilitating the oxidation of FeS2. Column experiments showed that when water at pH 7 was flowed over the coal mining waste, the effluent had a pH close to 3. In contrast when water at pH 7 was flowed over the pyrite containing waste, which was pretreated with lipid, the effluent had a pH closer to 7, and the total amount of Fe (Fe2+/Fe3+) and SO42- in the effluent waters was also reduced relative to the untreated pyrite containing waste circumstance. These studies showed that the application of phospholipid to pyrite containing coal mining waste could potentially be an environmentally friendly remediation technique.
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|Acid Mine Drainage (amd)
|Al/fe Mixed Metal Oxides
|Carbon Dioxide Adsorption
|Studies of the Surface Reactivity of Metal Oxyhydroxides and Sulfides with Relevance to Environmental Chemistry
|Spano, Francis C.
|Kubicki, James David
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