Solid-state NMR identification and quantification of newly formed aluminosilicate phases in weathered kaolinite systems

Carry S. Crosson, Sunkyung Choi, Jon Chorover, Mary Kay Amistadi, Peggy A. O'Day, Karl T. Mueller

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17 Scopus citations


The weathering of a specimen kaolinite clay was studied over the course of 369 d via solid-state 29Si magic angle spinning (MAS) nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and high-field 27Al MAS NMR. The chosen baseline solution conditions (0.05 mol kg-1 of Al, 2 mol kg-1 of Na+, 1 mol kg-1 of NO3-, 1 mol kg-1 of OH-, and pH ∼13.8) approximate those of solutions leaking from waste tanks at the Hanford Site in Richland, WA. Nonradioactive Cs and Sr cations were added to this synthetic tank waste leachate (STWL) solution at concentrations of 10-3, 10-4, and 10-5 molal (m) to represent their radionuclide counterparts. The transformations of silicon- and aluminum-containing solid phase species were monitored quantitatively by using NMR spectroscopy, with the resulting spectra directly reporting the influence of the initial Cs and Sr on formation and transformation of the neo-formed solids. At the lowest concentration of Cs and Sr employed (10-5 m in each cation) peaks consistent with the formation of zeolite-like minerals were detected via 29Si and 27Al MAS NMR as early as 33 d. At concentrations of 10-3 m in each cation, new silicon species are not detected until 93 d, although neophases containing four-coordinate aluminum were detectable at earlier reaction times via 27Al MAS NMR. At the highest magnetic field strengths employed in this NMR study, deconvolutions of resonances detected in the tetrahedral region of the 27Al MAS spectra yielded multiple components, indicating the existence of at least four new aluminum-containing phases. Two of these phases are identified as sodalite and cancrinite through comparison with diffuse-reflectance infrared (DRIFT) spectra and powder X-ray diffraction (XRD) results, while a third phase may correlate with a previously detected aluminum-rich chabazite phase. All measurable solid reaction products have been quantified via their 27Al MAS resonances acquired at high magnetic field strengths (17.6 T), and the quantitative nature of the 27Al NMR data shows that cancrinite growth increases while sodalite reaches a steady state with respect to total aluminum in the solid phases. The data also relate the coupling of Cs sorption to the ripening of feldspathoid phases in this heterogeneous system as a function of time, and illustrate the important influence of co-contaminants on the environmental reaction kinetics studied here.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)723-732
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 19 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry


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