The behaviour of Fe-oxides was investigated during precipitation and co-precipitation, phase transformation and dissolution, while their ability to adsorb and incorporate trace components was examined. Some samples were synthesised and studied under controlled laboratory conditions and other samples were taken from experiments designed to test the effectiveness of waste treatment strategies using iron. Surface-sensitive and high-resolution techniques were used to complement information gathered from classical, macroscopic methods. Adsorption isotherms for Ni2+ uptake on synthetic ferrihydrite (Fe5HO8·4H2O, often written simply Fe(OH)3), goethite (α-FeOOH), hematite (α-Fe2O3) and magnetite (Fe3O4) were all similar, increasing as expected at higher pH. Desorption behaviour was also similar, but one third or more of the Ni2+ failed to return to solution. In the past, "irreversible sorption" has been blamed on uptake into micro-fractures or pores, but during examination (using Atomic force microscopy, AFM) of hundreds of Fe-oxide particles, no evidence for such features could be found, leading to the conclusion that Ni2+ must become incorporated onto or into the solids. When solutions of Fe(II) are oxidised in controlled laboratory conditions or during treatment of ash from municipal waste incinerators, two-line ferrihydrite forms rapidly and on never-dried samples, AFM shows abundant individual particles with diameter ranging from 0.5 to several tens of nanometers. Aging in solution at 70°C promotes growth of the particles into hematite and goethite and their identification (by X-ray powder diffraction, XRPD, with Rietveld refinement) becomes possible at the same aging stage as mineral morphology becomes recognisable by AFM. In other experiments that were designed to mimic natural attack by organic acids, colloidal lepidocrocite γ-FeOOH) was observed in situ by AFM, while reductive dissolution removed material on specific crystal faces. Lath ends are eroded fastest while basal planes are more stable. In order to help elucidate mechanisms of contaminant immobilisation by Fe-oxides, we examined samples from a reactive barrier made with 90% quartz sand, 5% bentonite and 5% zero-valent iron filings that had reacted with a solution typical of leachate from coal-burning fly ash using time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectroscopy (TOF-SIMS). Fe(0) oxidised to Fe(III), while soluble and toxic Cr(VI) was reduced to insoluble Cr(III). Chemical maps show Fe-oxide coatings on bentonite; Cr is associated with Fe-oxides to some extent but its association with Ca in a previously undescribed phase is much stronger. Other samples taken from municipal waste incinerator ash that had been treated by aeration in Fe(II) solutions were examined with transmission electron microscopy (TEM), selected area electron diffraction (SAED) and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS). Pb and some Zn are seen to be dispersed throughout two-line ferrihydrite aggregates, whereas Sn and some Zn are incorporated simply as a result of entrainment of individual ZnSn-oxide crystallites. Geochemical speciation models that fail to account for contaminant uptake in solid solutions within major phases or as thin coatings or entrained crystals of uncommon phases such as those described here risk to underestimate contaminant retardation or immobilisation.
- Programområde 2: Vandressourcer