Iron (III)-silica interactions in aqueous solution: Insights from X-ray absorption fine structure spectroscopy

Abstract : The influence of aqueous silica on the hydrolysis of iron(III) nitrate and chloride salts in dilute aqueous solutions (m(Fe) similar to 0.01 mol/kg) was studied at ambient temperature using X-ray absorption fine structure (XAFS) spectroscopy at the Fe K-edge. Results show that in Si-free iron nitrate and chloride solutions at acid pH (pH < 2.5), Fe is hexa-coordinated with 6 oxygens of H2O- and/or OH-groups in the first coordination sphere of the metal, at an Fe-O distance of 2.00 +/- 0.01 Angstrom. With increasing pH (2.7 < pH < 13), these groups are rapidly replaced by bridging hydroxyls (-OH-) or oxygens (-O-), and polymerized Fe hydroxide complexes form via Fe-(O/OH)-Fe bonds. In these polymers, the first atomic shell of iron represents a distorted octahedron with six O/OH groups and Fe-O distances ranging from 1.92 to 2.07 Angstrom. The Fe octahedra are linked together by their edges (Fe-Fe distance 2.92-3.12 Angstrom) and corners (Fe-Fe distance similar to3.47 +/- 0.03 Angstrom). The Fe-Fe coordination numbers (N-edge = 1-2; N-corner = 0.5-0.7) are consistent with the dominant presence of iron dimers, trimers and tetramers at pH 2.5 to 2.9, and of higher-polymerized species at pH > 3. At pH > 2.5 in the presence of aqueous silica, important changes in Fe(III) hydrolysis are detected. In 0.05-in Si solutions (pH similar to 2.7-3.0), the corner linkages between Fe octahedra in the polymeric complexes disappear, and the Fe-Fe distances corresponding to the edge linkages slightly increase (Fe-Fe-edge similar to 3.12-3.14 Angstrom). The presence of 1 to 2 silicons at 3.18 +/- 0.03 Angstrom is detected in the second atomic shell around iron. At basic pH (similar to12.7), similar structural changes are observed for the iron second shell. The Fe-Si and Fe-Fe distances and coordination numbers derived in this study are consistent with (1) Fe-Si complex stoichiometries Fe2Si1-2 and Fe3Si2-3 at pH < 3; (2) structures composed of Fe-Fe dimers and trimers sharing one or two edges of FeO6-octahedra; and (3) silicon tetrahedra linked to two neighboring Fe octahedra via corners. At higher Si concentration (0.16 m, polymerized silica solution) and pH similar to 3, the signal of the Fe second shell vanishes indicating the destruction of the Fe-Fe bonds and the formation of different Fe-Si linkages. Moreover, similar to20 mol.% of Fe is found to be tetrahedrally coordinated with oxygens in the first coordination shell (RFe-O = 1.84 Angstrom). This new finding implies that Fe may partially substitute for Si in the tetrahedral network of the silica polymers in Si-rich solutions. The results of this study demonstrate that aqueous silica can significantly inhibit iron polymerization and solid-phase formation, and thus increase the stability and mobility of Fe(III) in natural waters. The silica "poisoning" of the free corner sites of iron-hydroxide colloids should reduce the adsorption and incorporation of trace elements by these colloids in Si-rich natural waters. Copyright (C) 2003 Elsevier Ltd.
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Gs Pokrovski, J. Schott, F. Farges, Jl Hazemann. Iron (III)-silica interactions in aqueous solution: Insights from X-ray absorption fine structure spectroscopy. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, Elsevier, 2003, 67 (19), pp.3559--3573. ⟨10.1016/S0016-7037(03)00160-1⟩. ⟨hal-00693555⟩

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