Limitations of the potentiometric titration technique in determining the proton active site density of goethite surfaces
2002 (English)In: Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta: Volume 66, Issue 19, 1 October 2002, Pages, Vol. 66, no 19, 3389-96 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Density of proton active surface sites at mineral surfaces is a property of fundamental importance in equilibrium modeling of surface complexation reactions. In this article, methods for an experimental determination of these sites at the surface of α-FeOOH (goethite) are explored. It is shown that previously obtained saturation data of goethite with respect to protons do not yield a site density that can be considered as an intrinsic sorbent property: the results are below crystallographically expected values and values for different ionic media in terms of composition and concentration yield different numbers—for example, chloride would yield higher values than nitrate at the same concentration, and higher electrolyte concentration would favor higher apparent maxima. Although site saturation might be explained by electrostatic repulsion, which is more efficient at high electrolyte concentration or for certain ions, further independent experimental results show that no saturation occurs on goethite down to ph ≡ −log[H+] = 2.2 and possibly to PH = 1.0 in 0.6 M NaCl. For those very low pH values, the experimental charging curve was obtained by coulometric back titration (using the Gran plot) or titrations with tris (hydroxymethyl)-aminomethane of the supernatant of acidified goethite suspension. These experimental data are to our knowledge the first high quality data at such low pHs. However, small errors in the determination of proton concentrations (1%) are shown to strongly affect the shape of the charging curve for ph < 2. Furthermore, goethite dissolution (proton consumption and iron reduction in coulometric titrations) and liquid junction effects interfere at low ph, hampering the straightforward application of coulometric Gran titrations over the whole pH range. From these experiments, it can nonetheless be ascertained that a minimum of 2.5 protons/nm2 can be adsorbed at the goethite surface from the point of zero charge (ph 9.4) to pH 0.9. Although these studies are restricted to goethite, those studies in which titrations with excess acid and base have been used for the determination of proton active site concentrations of sorbents should be reconsidered.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2002. Vol. 66, no 19, 3389-96 p.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-9044DOI: doi:10.1016/S0016-7037(02)00948-1OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-9044DiVA: diva2:148715