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Environ Sci Technol. 2010 Jul 15;44(14):5469-75. doi: 10.1021/es1007565.

Kinetics of Fe(II)-catalyzed transformation of 6-line ferrihydrite under anaerobic flow conditions.

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  • 1Earth Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California 94720, USA. LYang@lbl.gov


The readsorption of ferrous ions produced by the abiotic and microbially mediated reductive dissolution of iron oxy-hydroxides drives a series of transformations of the host minerals. To further understand the mechanisms by which these transformations occur and their kinetics within a microporous flow environment, flow-through experiments were conducted in which capillary tubes packed with ferrihydrite-coated glass spheres were injected with inorganic Fe(II) solutions under circumneutral pH conditions at 25 degrees C. Synchrotron X-ray diffraction was used to identify the secondary phase(s) formed and to provide data for quantitative kinetic analysis. At concentrations at and above 1.8 mM Fe(II) in the injection solution, magnetite was the only secondary phase formed (no intermediates were detected), with complete transformation following a nonlinear rate law requiring 28 and 150 h of reaction at 18 and 1.8 mM Fe(II), respectively. However, when the injection solution consisted of 0.36 mM Fe(II), goethite was the predominant reaction product and formed much more slowly according to a linear rate law, while only minor magnetite was formed. When the rates are normalized based on the time to react half of the ferrihydrite on a reduced time plot, it is apparent that the 1.8 mM and 18 mM input Fe(II) experiments can be described by the same reaction mechanism, while the 0.36 input Fe(II) experiment is distinct. The analysis of the transformation kinetics suggests that the transformations involved an electron transfer reaction between the aqueous as well as sorbed Fe(II) and ferrihydrite acting as a semiconductor, rather than a simple dissolution and recrystallization mechanism. A transformation mechanism involving sorbed inner sphere Fe(II) alone is not supported, since the essentially equal coverage of sorption sites in the 18 mM and 1.8 mM Fe(II) injections cannot explain the difference in the transformation rates observed.

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